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Old 7th August 2012, 03:36 AM   #1
Anders Lindman
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Is the Sun a Black Hole?

With the risk of making a complete fool of myself, I'm wondering if the sun could be a black hole? I did some searches on the web but all I could find was questions about if the sun will become a black hole.

The so-called Hawking radiation predicts that black holes radiate energy. If the sun is a black hole, how much energy would it generate, given that the mass of the sun is much larger than predicted by the standard models?

The mass of the sun as a black hole can be calculated from its diameter.
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Old 7th August 2012, 03:45 AM   #2
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A simple method of testing this...a black hole's gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape. Light has no problem escaping from the sun. Therefore, the sun in not a black hole. While a black hole may emit some Hawking radiation, that is an entirely different thing than what we see with the sun.

In addition, we have very precise measurements of the gravitational pull of our sun...a black hole of that size would have a far, far greater gravitational pull, and the Earth would long ago have been swallowed up. Despite not being an expert in this field, I feel 100% confident in stating, quite absolutely, that the sun is not a black hole.
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Old 7th August 2012, 03:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
A simple method of testing this...a black hole's gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape. Light has no problem escaping from the sun. Therefore, the sun in not a black hole. While Hawking radiation may be able to escape, that is an entirely different thing than what we see with the sun.
But black holes can generate energy out the vacuum of space:

"Physical insight into the process may be gained by imagining that particle-antiparticle radiation is emitted from just beyond the event horizon. This radiation does not come directly from the black hole itself, but rather is a result of virtual particles being "boosted" by the black hole's gravitation into becoming real particles." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation
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Old 7th August 2012, 03:54 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
But black holes can generate energy out the vacuum of space:
Dude...that's irrelevant. We see light from our sun...in fact, it escapes the sun quite easily. If it were a black hole, we would not see that light. For example, we can see sunspots and solar flares on the surface of the sun; were it a black hole, it would be quite impossible to observe such phenomena.

Not to mention, as I added above, that we've calculated very precisely the gravitational pull of our sun, and it isn't even slightly close to that a black hole would demonstrate. I'm not sure what you think a black hole is, but I guarantee you that the sun is not one.
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Old 7th August 2012, 03:55 AM   #5
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Well by definition a black hole is an area of space with such a high gravitational density that nothing, not even light, can escape from it. Ergo by definition black holes are completely devoid of light, i.e. they are black.

Go outside and stare at the sun and see if you can detect any light. If you can, it's not a black hole.
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Old 7th August 2012, 03:55 AM   #6
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Uhm yes, black holes radiate via Hawking radiation, but that gives you a completely different spectrum from the clearly fusion-derived solar spectrum.

Another simple test - you can derive the mass of the sun from planetary orbits. You can measure the radius of the sun. The (Schwarzschild) radius of a black hole the mass of the sun would be just about 3 km. The measured radius of the sun is about 700000 km.

Therefore, the sun is not a black hole.
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Old 7th August 2012, 03:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
...given that the mass of the sun is much larger than predicted by the standard models...
Please explain this bit. Thanks.
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Old 7th August 2012, 03:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Dude...that's irrelevant. We see light from our sun...in fact, it escapes the sun quite easily. If it were a black hole, we would not see that light. For example, we can see sunspots and solar flares on the surface of the sun; were it a black hole, it would be quite impossible to observe such phenomena.

Not to mention, as I added above, that we've calculated very precisely the gravitational pull of our sun, and it isn't even slightly close to that a black hole would demonstrate. I'm not sure what you think a black hole is, but I guarantee you that the sun is not one.
Quasars are black holes generating enormous amounts of visible energy:

"They are among the most luminous, powerful, and energetic objects known in the universe. ... Quasars are believed to be powered by accretion of material into supermassive black holes in the nuclei of distant galaxies" -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasar
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Old 7th August 2012, 03:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
Please explain this bit. Thanks.
With the standard calculation of the sun's mass, it's not enough to form a black hole. But what if the real mass of the sun is actually much larger?
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Old 7th August 2012, 03:59 AM   #10
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A quasar surrounds a black hole, it is not a black hole.

And the sun is not a quasar. Or a black hole. Or made of rice pudding. It's a GV2 type main sequence yellow dwarf star. Nothing else.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
... we've calculated very precisely the gravitational pull of our sun, and it isn't even slightly close to that a black hole would demonstrate.
Yes, I know, but what is the standard calculation of the sun's mass based on?
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:02 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Well by definition a black hole is an area of space with such a high gravitational density that nothing, not even light, can escape from it. Ergo by definition black holes are completely devoid of light, i.e. they are black.

Go outside and stare at the sun and see if you can detect any light. If you can, it's not a black hole.
Science has in recent time shown that black holes indeed radiate energy.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
With the standard calculation of the sun's mass, it's not enough to form a black hole. But what if the real mass of the sun is actually much larger?
What if frogs had wings?
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Dude...that's irrelevant. We see light from our sun...in fact, it escapes the sun quite easily. If it were a black hole, we would not see that light.
Not light from beyond the event horizon of the black hole of course, but I meant radiation from the surface of the black hole, where light still can escape. If the black hole can turn virtual particles (in the vacuum of space) into real particles (as the Wikipedia article said) then that would generate radiation on the surface of the black hole.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:07 AM   #15
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Do you read any replies to you? The sun's spectrum is distinctly different from what one would expect from Hawking radiation. Why would Hawking radiation show hydrogen and helium lines? And the mass you can calculate from orbital mechanics. There is a factor of 200000 between the radius of the sun and the radius of a black hole of equivalent mass.

So in summary, if everything we know about emission spectra, orbital mechanics, fusion, black holes, stars and even gravity itself were wrong, then, and only then, could the sun be a black hole.

Wait, why am I even debating this?
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:08 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
Yes, I know, but what is the standard calculation of the sun's mass based on?
As mentioned above...we know the mass of our planet, and other bodies in our solar system. We know the gravitational pull necessary to keep them in the orbits they currently have. Less gravity would result in the planets being flung into outer space; more gravity would result in planets being sucked into the sun.

And quasars? Are you yanking my chain? Even the most basic study of what a quasar is would reveal that our sun is most definitely not a quasar.

At this point, I'm bowing out...either you're yanking my chain, or you are so very very very far from understanding even the basics of what you're asking that my responses won't help...you need to educate yourself first.

The sun doesn't come even remotely close to the definitions of either a black hole or a quasar. End of story.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:09 AM   #17
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Hawking radiation for a black hole of approximately stellar mass is significantly less than the CMB background radiation, so if you look at a stellar mass black hole (with any kind of equipment that can sense electromagnetic radiation, including but not limited to human eyes) it will look darker than empty intergalactic space.

So, no, the sun is not a black hole whose radiative energy comes from Hawking radiation. (to Wolfman, though, it's worth pointing out that Hawking radiation does radiate, that is, you can see it at a distance from the black hole).

Now, black holes are also often extremely bright, due to their effect on in-falling matter (see "accretion disk). But as pointed out above, the spectrum (as well as simply the shape) of that "object" is very different from the sun.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:10 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
Science has in recent time shown that black holes indeed radiate energy.
"Possibly radiate some form of low level radiation" does not equate to being a giant visible ball of fire in the sky.

The Sun isn't emitting Hawking Radiation that can be picked up by some highly tuned sensor somewhere. You can see and feel the energy radiated off of it.

It's... not... a... black... hole.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:10 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
A quasar surrounds a black hole, it is not a black hole.
Sun's corona surrounds the sun. Isn't that basically the same thing as a quasar surrounding a black hole?
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:12 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
Science has in recent time shown that black holes indeed radiate energy.
Yes, but for a stellar mass black hole it's extremely little energy/unit time. Such a black hole has a temperature less than that of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.

ETA: and just to point out, a black hole whose radius is similar to that of the sun would have a mass much higher than that of the sun.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:15 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by GeneMachine View Post
Do you read any replies to you? The sun's spectrum is distinctly different from what one would expect from Hawking radiation. Why would Hawking radiation show hydrogen and helium lines? And the mass you can calculate from orbital mechanics. There is a factor of 200000 between the radius of the sun and the radius of a black hole of equivalent mass.

So in summary, if everything we know about emission spectra, orbital mechanics, fusion, black holes, stars and even gravity itself were wrong, then, and only then, could the sun be a black hole.

Wait, why am I even debating this?
Hawking radiation may not be able to produce hydrogen lines, but what about a black hole being able to accelerate virtual particles in the vacuum of space into real particles (including hydrogen and helium perhaps) as the Wikipedia article I posted above said?
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:17 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
As mentioned above...we know the mass of our planet, and other bodies in our solar system. We know the gravitational pull necessary to keep them in the orbits they currently have. Less gravity would result in the planets being flung into outer space; more gravity would result in planets being sucked into the sun.
Is that really the case? Isn't orbital motion of small objects around a very massive object basically independent of the mass of the smaller objects?
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:19 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Even the most basic study of what a quasar is would reveal that our sun is most definitely not a quasar.


There is the whole being able to ask the question from 1AU thing against that particular theory.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:21 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
And quasars? Are you yanking my chain? Even the most basic study of what a quasar is would reveal that our sun is most definitely not a quasar.
I meant the energy a quasar produces. It's huge! And what is the spectrum of the energy from a quasar? Maybe the spectrum of a quasar contains hydrogen and helium lines. I'm just speculating here, but anyways a quasar can produce visible light in huge amounts. The sun's corona of course has a very different shape than a quasar but couldn't the principle of energy generation be the same in both cases?
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:23 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Now, black holes are also often extremely bright, due to their effect on in-falling matter (see "accretion disk). But as pointed out above, the spectrum (as well as simply the shape) of that "object" is very different from the sun.
So the spectrum of light from a quasar doesn't contain for example a hydrogen line?
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:23 AM   #26
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Yes, there is Hawking radiation, no one doubted that. The thing is that the whole spectral properties would be different. Let's try another approach.

The blackbody temperature of Hawking radiation is (h_bar c3)/(8 pi G M k_boltzmann). For a black hole the mass of the sun, this gives you a radiative temperature of roughly 6*10-8 K. The observed effective temperature of the sun is roughly 6000 K. The difference is 1011!

Also, while this is not my core area of experience, you won't get virtual helium nuclei. Way too heavy.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:25 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Yes, but for a stellar mass black hole it's extremely little energy/unit time. Such a black hole has a temperature less than that of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.

ETA: and just to point out, a black hole whose radius is similar to that of the sun would have a mass much higher than that of the sun.
So Hawking radiation can be ruled out. Ok, that may be true. But still the generation of energy out of the vacuum is still a possibility maybe.

As for the mass of the sun, see previous posts.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:33 AM   #28
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So your hypothesis now is that the sun is, in fact, a quasar and not a star?

May I point out a small problem? This whole hypothesis hinges on the assumption that we can not distinguish a star from a quasar, even in our home system. How then were we able to discover quasars as objects distinct from stars in the first place? The logic breaks down here.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:34 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
As for the mass of the sun, see previous posts.
finding the mass of the sun
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:34 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
What if frogs had wings?
Given a population of said winged frogs on the event horizon of a black hole, there would be some frogs which were pulled into the singularity and some frogs which had sufficient velocity to escape the gravity well. But there would be some fraction of the frogs, call it F, which was trapped at the event horizon in such a manner that they would be pulled into more or less equal halves - half disappearing into the black hole and half being ejected away from it. Also there would be some subpopulation of F oriented on the event horizon such that one half was attached to one wing and one half was attached to the other. Examination of the ejected halves of these deceased frogs will give the fraction found with left wings, FsubL, and the fraction with right wings, FsubR. The null hypothesis is of course that FsubL = FsubR if the orientation of the doomed frogs are random. But should this hypothesis not hold, it will tell us something very profound about the underlying chirality of the universe.
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Old 7th August 2012, 04:50 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by GeneMachine View Post
So your hypothesis now is that the sun is, in fact, a quasar and not a star?

May I point out a small problem? This whole hypothesis hinges on the assumption that we can not distinguish a star from a quasar, even in our home system. How then were we able to discover quasars as objects distinct from stars in the first place? The logic breaks down here.
No, my (super speculative ) hypothesis is that all stars are black holes. A quasar is working on the same principle but instead of a corona most of the energy gets ejected in the form of huge beams.

Alternatively, if the sun's mass is too small, the principle of turning the vacuum in space into energy may still apply when the gravitational acceleration is large enough. A planet for example definitely has too small mass to produce enough acceleration to 'extract' real particles out of virtual particles in the vacuum.
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Old 7th August 2012, 05:00 AM   #32
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But didn't you just agree that Hawking radiation can be ruled out? That is the one and only mechanism to "turn the vacuum in space into energy", as you put it. We have shown that this is inconsistent with the observed spectrum and observed radius of the sun.

One more aspect. The measured neutrino flux from the sun is consistent with a fusion reaction going on there. How would your hypothesis explain that?
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Old 7th August 2012, 05:11 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
Ok, the sun's mass is calculated from basic Newtonian laws. That should be fairly accurate.

Then the next question is how much mass would a black hole have that has the same diameter as the sun? I think I read somewhere that the sun would have to be much heavier to be a black hole, but I haven't checked the exact number.
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Old 7th August 2012, 05:19 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by GeneMachine View Post
But didn't you just agree that Hawking radiation can be ruled out? That is the one and only mechanism to "turn the vacuum in space into energy", as you put it. We have shown that this is inconsistent with the observed spectrum and observed radius of the sun.

One more aspect. The measured neutrino flux from the sun is consistent with a fusion reaction going on there. How would your hypothesis explain that?
Ok, I may have misunderstood the energy out of the vacuum part. I thought is was a process separate from Hawking radiation.

But what about this paper, titled ULTRA HIGH ENERGY RADIATION FROM A BLACK HOLE: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q...nIBQaP5Rq-3_HQ

PDF version: http://lss.fnal.gov/archive/1984/pub/Pub-84-046-T.pdf

ETA: Oops! I see now that the paper says the energy is insignificant.

Last edited by Anders Lindman; 7th August 2012 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 7th August 2012, 05:22 AM   #35
Jack by the hedge
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
Then the next question is how much mass would a black hole have that has the same diameter as the sun?
Have you considered Google?

The Schwarzchild radius is directly proportional to mass, and as GeneMachine said above, is a little less than 3km per solar mass. So a black hole with the radius of the sun (700,000 km) would be over 23 thousand times as massive as the sun.
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Old 7th August 2012, 05:26 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
Have you considered Google?

The Schwarzchild radius is directly proportional to mass, and as GeneMachine said above, is a little less than 3km per solar mass. So a black hole with the radius of the sun (700,000 km) would be over 23 thousand times as massive as the sun.
Sorry, sloppy reading on my part. GeneMachine wrote: "There is a factor of 200000 between the radius of the sun and the radius of a black hole of equivalent mass."

The posts are coming in too fast, I can't keep up! Anyway, I will do some searches to check out the number, just in case there are several competing theories out there.
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Old 7th August 2012, 05:27 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
Is that really the case? Isn't orbital motion of small objects around a very massive object basically independent of the mass of the smaller objects?
If the sun were more massive, the orbit of the planets would be different, plain and simple. We know how long an orbit takes, we know how far we are from the sun's, and we know G, and we know each of these independent of any assumption of solar mass. From those facts, you can directly calculate the mass of the sun. It's not changing substantially with time.

Wow. Just wow. You realize that you can do things like finding out how large a solar mass black hole is before trolling on here, right? It's tiny, just a kilometer or so. Actually, looking at the other threads you post in, it appears that this is the norm for you. Post a ridiculous speculation followed by dozens of replies with "Yeah, but, what if"s.
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Old 7th August 2012, 05:46 AM   #38
Anders Lindman
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Originally Posted by jasonpatterson View Post
If the sun were more massive, the orbit of the planets would be different, plain and simple. We know how long an orbit takes, we know how far we are from the sun's, and we know G, and we know each of these independent of any assumption of solar mass. From those facts, you can directly calculate the mass of the sun. It's not changing substantially with time.

Wow. Just wow. You realize that you can do things like finding out how large a solar mass black hole is before trolling on here, right? It's tiny, just a kilometer or so. Actually, looking at the other threads you post in, it appears that this is the norm for you. Post a ridiculous speculation followed by dozens of replies with "Yeah, but, what if"s.
I do my research on the fly so to speak. I now found this:

"the Sun has a Schwarzschild radius of approximately 3.0 km (1.9 mi)" -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwarzschild_radius

This is how big the black hole inside the sun is. Well, maybe that's too speculative, but anyway the Schwarzschild radius determines the size of a black hole in relation to its mass.
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Old 7th August 2012, 05:48 AM   #39
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Why has this thread got anymore replies than - "no" or maybe
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Old 7th August 2012, 05:50 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by DrDave View Post
Why has this thread got anymore replies than - "no" or maybe
Because I needed a refresher on some astrophysics, and this gave me the excuse to read up on some stuff again. Also - bored at work
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