Why can the sun burn for 4.6 billion years? I’ve heard the explanation from scientists

The earth is a planet of life, and it is also the home where human beings have lived for millions of years. The earth can give birth to rich life, give birth to human beings, and upgrade from a planet of life to a civilized planet. In addition to the strong magnetic field and thick atmosphere of the earth itself, there is also an important external condition, that is, the care of the sun.

Without the sun, the earth would not have the right temperature, there would not be a lot of liquid water on its surface, life would not have been born naturally, let alone human beings. It can be said that the sun is the mother of human beings. Therefore, the ancients worshipped the sun very much, and many tribes took the sun as a totem.

The ancients knew very little about the sun. They only knew that it was a burning fireball, but they didn’t know what the sun was. With the rapid development of human beings, after entering the road of scientific and technological development, with the help of science and technology, human beings began to study and explore the mystery of the universe. At this time, we finally understood that the sun is actually a star. There are countless stars like this in the universe. Most of the stars we see in the sky at night are stars like the sun, but they are far away from each other The earth is so far away that we can only see the size of stars.


The sun is one of the hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. Stars can be said to be the bright lights of the universe, bringing a little sunshine and warmth to the dark and cold space. People have been very curious about the sun since ancient times, so someone asked a question: why can the sun burn for 4.6 billion years? For this problem, the scientific community has gone through a lot of exploration to understand.

In fact, the sun has been burning for more than 4.6 billion years. We need to know that the age of the earth is about 4.6 billion years, and the solar system was born because of the sun. After the birth of the sun, the earth and other eight planets slowly came into being. Scientists believe that the age of the sun should be 5 billion years. What we call burning for 4.6 billion years is actually based on the age of the earth.

No matter how old the sun is, it’s incredible that it can burn for 4.6 billion years. Scientists initially believed that the sun’s combustion may be chemical combustion, and the combustion of any substance is inseparable from combustion, and the sun is no exception. Scientists think that the burning of the sun is a chemical reaction, so they calculate the life of the sun in this way.

The result is totally inconsistent with the fact. If the sun was able to produce energy through contraction or chemical reaction combustion, then the sun might have run out of fuel millions of years ago, and it could not be as unchanged as it is now. So there must be a third way for the sun to burn. This mystery was not solved until Einstein’s mass energy equation appeared.


Einstein is the greatest physicist in modern science. In addition to his great theory of relativity, he also has a far-reaching research, that is, the mass energy equation E = MC ^ 2, which tells us that any object with mass must have the same amount of energy. Inspired by this, British astronomer Eddington proposed in the 1920s that the sun actually converts its mass into energy. At the core of the sun is a huge nuclear power station. The center of the sun is undergoing nuclear fusion all the time, and the photons produced by fusion are ejected from the inside to the surface of the sun.

If the inside of the sun is a nuclear fusion energy station, that makes sense. You know, there are a lot of hydrogen atoms inside the sun. Four hydrogen protons fuse together to form a helium atom. During this period, a small part of the four protons lost their mass. Due to the conservation of mass and energy, these masses will be converted into huge energy, making the power radiated by the sun as high as 3.9 x 10 ^ 26 watts.

The sun can burn 4.6 billion years away, is its internal nuclear fusion reaction, which is a powerful energy model, has been the direction of continuous exploration and research of scientists. Once human beings have mastered and realized controllable nuclear fusion technology, they will no longer worry about energy, and they may directly enter the interstellar civilization.


However, the sun’s nuclear fusion reaction also needs to consume combustion hydrogen, and the hydrogen atoms inside the sun are limited and will continue to decrease. According to the calculation of scientists, the life span of the sun is about 10 billion years. It has burned for 5 billion years. In another 5 billion years, the sun will stop burning. At that time, the sun will rapidly expand into a red giant, then collapse inward, and finally evolve into a white dwarf.

The mystery that the sun can burn for 4.6 billion years has finally been understood, so are all the stars in the universe able to burn for 10 billion years? Of course not. The lifetime of a star decreases with the increase of its mass. That is to say, the larger the mass is, the shorter its lifetime is. Stars like the sun are yellow dwarfs, which are relatively small stars in the family of stars.

There are many stars whose mass is larger than that of the sun in the family of stars. Scientists have also found many massive stars in the universe, some even super massive stars. The life span of these massive stars is very short, some of them are only a few hundred million years, while some of them are especially massive, their life span is only tens of millions of years, then they will expand and collapse, and finally they will evolve into black holes.

In this direction, the larger the mass of a star, the shorter its life span. When scientists are looking for extraterrestrial life and alien civilization, their main goal is also to focus on yellow dwarfs like the sun. To know that the birth of a living planet takes a long time, from hundreds of millions of years to billions of years. The birth of intelligent life is even longer. Human beings were born millions of years ago, that is, 4.6 billion years after the formation of the earth.


It can be seen that if other galaxies in the universe want to give birth to life planets or intelligent civilizations, the life span of stars must be long. If they have only hundreds of millions of years or thousands of adults, life will be destroyed before the birth of planets, and the death of stars basically means that there is no possibility of the birth of life in this galaxy.

Only yellow dwarfs like the sun, with a life span of 10 billion years, have enough time for the planets in the habitable zone to develop, evolve and grow into living planets, and finally give birth to intelligent life and civilization.

Guys, what do you think of this? Welcome to leave a message below to discuss and express your opinions.


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