How Long Would Earth Survive Without The Sun (And Why)?


Exact Answer: 7 days

A plant in a dark room will die over time. Similarly, if the Sun is gone or turned off, the temperatures on the earth’s surface will fall drastically. The surface temperatures will face the most amount of impact which in turn will be harmful to the living beings, even extinction. Although some of the microorganisms will live for some time eventually everything will be extinct.

How Long Would The Earth Survive Without The Sun?

The rays of the light from the sun reach the surface of the earth after eight and a half minutes so if the sun was to disappear then in exactly 9 minutes the earth would be in complete darkness. There would be no source of natural light as the moon like all the other planets does not have a light of its own, they just reflect the sunlight.

The present temperature of the earth’s surface is about 300 Kelvin (K) and the calculations and numbers, if accurate, will show a decrease in the earth’s temperature by a factor of two every two months without the presence of the sun.

Therefore, if the sun was to disappear all of a sudden, human Life would not come to a halt instantly but over time it would decrease and lastly be extinct. The temperature all over the surface will drop below 0° in just seven days making it very difficult for the survival of living organisms.
The rapid and high decrease temperatures can be as low as hundred degrees, which means all of the top layers of the water bodies will freeze.

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Types of living beingsTime
Animals1 month
Bacteria1 year
Plants7 days
Human Beings2-3 months


Why Would The Earth Survive That Long Without The Sun?

Apart from being night-time or darkness all day every day, some things might happen if the sun disappears.

  • Plants will die faster- Plants generate food from the process of photosynthesis therefore if there is no sunlight there will be no food production in plants. This in turn will result in major plant death. Similarly, herbivore animals will die over time if there are no plants to feed on.
  • Reduction in oxygen- As a result, due to no sunlight to perform photosynthesis the production of oxygen will also come to a standstill. One of the main components of life is oxygen and without it, living beings cannot survive therefore with no oxygen death will come sooner.
  • Excessive temperature changes- The sun is the main energy source for all life and if the main energy source disappears, the temperatures all over the planet will face severe changes. Firstly, the surface temperature of the earth will face a tremendous downfall in the first two months and can also hit 0° Fahrenheit. After that within a course of time temperatures might hit minus a hundred degrees as well. This temperature does not allow the existence of animals as well as human beings.
  • The shift in orbit- Apart from being the energy source for planet Earth the sun also is in charge of maintaining the orbit of the planets. Therefore if the sun shuts down then the earth along with the other planets will fly around and eventually will wander around in space.
  • Freezing of atmosphere- The top layers of all water bodies will freeze and remain unchanged for many years to come but because of such low temperatures, the atmosphere will freeze and fall on the earth’s surface. This in turn will make life on earth extinct as the surface will have exposure to cosmic radiation.
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Conclusion

The Sun is also known as the star of the solar system, it is one of the most crucial components that help sustain living beings on Earth. Be it animals, plants, microorganisms, or humans everyone is dependent on the sun in one way or the other. Some studies say there can still be life even after the Sun vanishes but in reality, it is impossible to sustain life after the Sun disappears.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0009254194001404
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/nn0798_183
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