Science & Technology
The Sun is often declared as the most essential source
of light and life for the entire world. Without it life would not exist nor
would all inhabitants of the world survive from cold and darkness. The Sun’s
impact on human civilization is undeniable and already there were ancient
cultures or groups of indigenous people who made artistic records about the Sun.
For as long as humans and wild animal life existed,
the Sun has always been there and to this day people keep on wondering how long
the Sun had existed. To find out how old is the Sun, we take a close look at
the findings of a man about it.
In today’s society, scientists have estimated that the
sun is around 5 billion-years-old. Others gave their own estimates like 4.5
billion years, 4.6 billion years, 4.7 billion years and so on. While people
wonder how long has the sun has lasted, there are those who naturally ask how
long will it continue to shine and warm the Earth.
Some scientists estimated
that the sun can last another 5 billion years. The sun exists with what is
referred to as “nuclear fuel”. Its photospheric composition (based on mass) is
over 73% hydrogen and around 25% helium.
How did the Sun start?
With regards to the origin of the sun, scientists
theorized that it, along with the other planets of the solar system, was formed
from a gigantic cloud of gas and dust identified as the solar nebula which
constantly rotated until it collapsed and formed itself into a disc. The sun,
they say, was formed as most of the material was pulled toward the center.
So how do people determine how old is the sun given
the fact that nobody ever witnessed the very beginning of the solar system? One
way of doing it is calculating the radioactive dating of objects of the solar
system. With regards to findings of the suns or stars in other parts of the
galaxy, scientists estimate that the solar system’s sun will remain stable and
last up to ten billion years. By that time, theoretically, the sun will turn
into a red giant although it won’t explode as a supernova as it does not have
Going back to radioactive dating, scientists have used
the method on meteorites which are believed to have been part of debris in
outer space that still managed to remain intact (or avoid getting totally
destroyed) with the surface of Earth. Already some scientists have estimated
meteorites to be about 4.6 billion years old. Very close to what was estimated
for the sun.
What’s with the radioactive elements? These were
infused into the planets and the pieces of rock when the solar system was first
established. These radioactive elements decay due to radioactive atoms being
unstable. Radioactive parent atoms’ nuclei break down until they form what
scientists call daughter atoms which are non-radioactive. With these
developments, scientists are able to calculate the approximate age of
meteorites which is then applied to determining how old the sun is.
Determining the very exact age of the sun remains
unachievable as of now and scientists can only give estimates with Earth years
as the unit of counting. Radioactive dating is, for now, the most efficient way
of determining the age of solar system elements.
How old is the sun precisely right down to exact figures?
We won’t find out soon enough so all we have to live
with are the estimates of 4.5 billion years, 4.6 billion years, 4.7 billion
years and so on.