Is it true that the Sun burns off a billion tons of gas every 5 seconds?
I heard an incredible claim that the Sun burns off a billion tons of gas every 5 seconds. Is this true?
It is true that the Sun burns several hundred million tons of hydrogen per second, converting it to helium by nuclear fusion. This the source of the Sun's energy, and if the Sun were consuming gas at less than this rate, then we would not get the required warmth to support life. However, there is no cause of alarm, because there is a HUGE amount of hydrogen in the Sun. The total mass of the sun is 2 x 1033 grams, out of which a small fraction of it is be used for nuclear reactions. If you calculate the age of the Sun based on the amount of gas consumed per second, you will find that the Sun can live for about 10 billion years.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- How do you calculate the lifetime of the Sun?
- How can a star burn with no oxygen?
- When the Sun converts mass to energy, do the orbits of the planets change?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 32307 times since April 29, 2002.
Last modified: June 4, 2003 9:27:22 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)