The Sun Is Getting Hotter

10 03 2007

What??!! I thought humans were causing the earth to warm up? The Sun?? Wow! Whoodda thunk’ it?

From The Telegraph (UK):

The team studied sunspot data going back several hundred years. They found that a dearth of sunspots signalled a cold period – which could last up to 50 years – but that over the past century their numbers had increased as the Earth’s climate grew steadily warmer. The scientists also compared data from ice samples collected during an expedition to Greenland in 1991. The most recent samples contained the lowest recorded levels of beryllium 10 for more than 1,000 years. Beryllium 10 is a particle created by cosmic rays that decreases in the Earth’s atmosphere as the magnetic energy from the Sun increases. Scientists can currently trace beryllium 10 levels back 1,150 years.

Dr. Solanki does not know what is causing the Sun to burn brighter now or how long this cycle would last.

Better stock up on sunscreen.

Oh, and don’t forget what happens to stars when they age. They get hotter.

While a main sequence star, energy production by nuclear fusion in the core causes a transformation from hydrogen nuclei to helium nuclei. At some point in time the hydrogen nuclei in the core will run out. When this occurs there will no longer be a balance between gravitational pressure inward and photon pressure outward. This is due to the fact that the photon production ceases when the fusion process runs out of fuel. At this point the core (almost pure helium) will begin to collapse again. As the core collapses its temperature will rise. Surrounding the core is a shell of hydrogen. This hydrogen shell will increase in temperature due to its proximity to the core.

From About.com

Over the next 5 billion years or so, it will grow steadily brighter as more helium accumulates in its core. As the supply of hydrogen dwindles, the Sun’s core must keep producing enough pressure to keep the Sun from collapsing in on itself. The only way it can do this is to increase its temperature. Eventually it will run out of hydrogen fuel. At that point, it will go through a radical change which will most likely result in the complete destruction of the planet Earth.

Stupid sun! Maybe Al Gore should make a visit.

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