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Thread: How to blow up a Star?

  1. #1 How to blow up a Star? 
    Forum Sophomore Estheria Quintessimo's Avatar
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    I appologize, as it may be a really dumb question....

    So I was watching 'How the Universe Works'... and they tell me that the moment a Star starts to make iron, it is DOOMED.

    Problem is they did not tell me much about the why. So the moment a Star starts making a heavy element as iron,... it is doomed and on the edge of collapse. It'll go BOOM.

    The moment I heard that, numerous questions popped up in my head, like:
    p1 - 1 iron atom dooms the Star?
    p2 - How much iron needs a Star to produce before it collapses? if p1 is not valid.
    p3 - If we shoot iron into a Star (in this example a still undetermined mass),... a Star that is not ready to die on its own,... will this collapse and make that star lethal prematurely?

    The thought of p3 kinda scared me. Suppose we send a probe to Mercury (and it has iron in it most likely) and it accidently ends up in the sun. If p3 would be true, that would kinda suck, really really bad.

    But as 'How the Universe Works'... did not provide me with an answer on my rapid thought processes,... I though I'd best ask it here.

    A question never asked, is an answer never given.


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  3. #2  
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    When a star starts making iron it means that it is running out of fuel (iron is the end of the line for fusion). When the fuel runs out the star will have nothing left to counteract gravity, so it will collapse. The aftermath depends on high massive it is.

    Your p1, p2, p3 don't apply. The appearance of iron is a sympton of impending doom, not a cause.


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    IF Mercury were to ever be sent into our sun it would only be dissolved by the intense heat that it must pass through. It wouldn't reach the center of the sun.

    Scientists believe that Mercury has an interior composition similar to Earth. Mercury has a large core of liquid metal surrounded by a mantle of silica and a solid outer crust. In the case of Mercury, though, the core accounts for 42% of the planet,
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    Sometimes it is better not knowing than having an answer that may be wrong.
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    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Iron kills stars because a star cannot fuse elements heavier than iron. Iron itself does not kill the star, the fact it cannot fuse anything heavier than iron does. Throwing a cast iron skillet into our sun wouldn't do anything to harm it. There is a very high probability our star does already contain iron elements(how much i do not know) However our star is not trying to fuse elements into iron or currently trying to fuse iron into heavier elements and likely never will, it does not have enough mass to do so.
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    Terrorist wants instructions on how to blow up the sun !! Report to the interweb polize!

    I'm sorry it has been a long night, I'm having a hard time taking this seriously.
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  8. #7  
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    Iron kills stars because a star cannot fuse elements heavier than iron. Iron itself does not kill the star, the fact it cannot fuse anything heavier than iron does. Throwing a cast iron skillet into our sun wouldn't do anything to harm it. There is a very high probability our star does already contain iron elements(how much i do not know) However our star is not trying to fuse elements into iron or currently trying to fuse iron into heavier elements and likely never will, it does not have enough mass to do so.
    The Sun's iron content is about 0.14% of its mass. This works out to be about 464 times the mass of the Earth.
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