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What If Jupiter Or Saturn Suddenly Gained Enough Mass To Become A Star?


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Well, the Wikipedia page said that there are algorithm for n-body that have O(n) time complexity, and from what I understand (Not much) this is not that bad.

It's because the force calculations are a fixed increase for each body in the system.

Your understanding is correct, i'm glad they're still teaching complexity for Comp Sci..

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It's because the force calculations are a fixed increase for each body in the system.

Your understanding is correct, i'm glad they're still teaching complexity for Comp Sci..

No, I didn't learn that formally, I just read about it once, unfoutnatly I know very little.

BTW, if they aren't teaching complexity and algorithmes in computer science, what do they teach?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have no idea of what it could cause to planets orbits and stuff... But I'm 100% sure that the new star will be nicknamed Lucifer.

Also, even if in the beginning it could be either Saturn or Jupiter, I think in the end it will be Jupiter.

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I tried it in Universe sandbox 2. With 10 times Jupiter mass after 100 years, nothing happened. So I tried 100 times mass and after 100 years, it slingshotted Ceres out of solar system and totally changed orbits of asteroids in asteroid belt... but still no changes to other planets' orbits...

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http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/PlanarThreeBodyProblem/

There's no need to go to the extent of solving an n-body problem for this. For most intents and purposes, the only bodies that matter are the Sun and Jupiter. A 10-fold step-like increase in Jupiter's mass leads to an increase in the speed of the barycenter of the solar system with respect to the Earth. The orbit of Earth becomes slightly eccentric, but not significantly. For sure, not oscillating between Venus and Mars. Smaller perturbations from the other planets may accumulate with time on the scale of hundreds of years. My vote is that it's far more important to consider bodies closer to Jupiter that will get slingshotted on possible collision courses with the Earth.

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Since this thread has been slightly necroed, I'll perform the sin of making a post here, although normally I wouldn't. And it has everything to do with Universe Sandbox.

First of all, Universe Sandbox (not 2), which I unfortunately own, is hardly a game or simulator. Very little, if anything, interesting can be done because:

1. It's capability to realistically simulate gravity between bodies is quite poor, abysmal even. It would be ok for a game mechanic, but there is no gameplay to be had here. It can use either the Euler method to perform the computations (which is generally considered so inaccurate in terms of the n-body problem, that it's effectively useless and should never be used - I think even Scott Manley has said as much) or RK4 (Runge-Kutta, which is mispelled as Runge-Katta in the game), that is considered marginally acceptable if I recall correctly. Add to this that the default step is quite huge considering that the scale of the solar system (and celestial objects in general) is quite large and gravitational systems are quite chaotic, which is evident even when playing the game itself. Any accuracy in a simulation within Universe Sandbox is too much to expect.

2. There is so little control over factors. Sure you can change mass for instance, but as most people here already realised, if you can't change that mass gradually, the simulation is absolutely useless. There is practically no control besides arbitrarily placing arbitrary objects with arbitrary properties - any dynamic change is merely the result of its hugely inaccurate physics.

3. The effects on any object are merely destruction (loss of mass), change of orbit due to collision or the gravity of other objects and addition of mass through collision. No magnetic fields, solar wind, volcanism, temperature, nothing (although Universe Sandbox 2 adds some of these, in a very rudimentary way, but still quite insufficient to project any meaningful assumption).

It's a game with exactly no audience. People who are interested in a game will get bored almost immediately. People who are interested in a simulator will be disappointed quickly and will also quickly realize how incredibly inaccurate it is. Perhaps it appeals to those who _think_ it's realistic to even the smallest degree and like simulators or those who are completely casual about games and want to feel cool because they play a "space" game. I don't really know.

Additionally, it is poorly coded. The framerate jumps all over the place and drops to the single digits whenever you want to overlay something essential such as projected orbits. In fact, having it show the projected orbits tells you, in one picture, how useless it is at simulating anything, since the projections change radically at each step. When I see a simulation like this, where almost every interesting change in the bodies results inescapably in the solar system falling apart, I can't take it seriously. It completely circumvents any and all stabilizing feedback mechanisms which must necessarily exist for the solar system to acquire any sort of (even short-term) equilibrium and prevent it from falling apart within a few thousand years.

Personally, I think that expecting radical changes is unrealistic - natural systems have self-stabilizing mechanisms. It's unlikely that a slow mass increase of Jupiter, enough to become a star, would cause an apocalypse. Chances are, it would be a lot calmer and stable than most of us would expect.

If you want to simulate something like this, you really need to break out the computational physics packages.

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Quick side topic: Would detonating a nuclear bomb inside Jupiter be enough to turn it into a star, or what about something else that would implode inside Jupiter. (I don't have enough science knowledge to know if a nuclear bomb could be something that would implode, and these scenarios are assuming that the bomb and imploding device would not get destroyed on the way inside of Jupiter)

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Setting off a nuclear bomb on or just below (or just above) the surface of the Earth barely scratches it. Deeper down it would be less noticeable. It is a big event on human scale, it is minuscule on planetary scale. Jupiter would not even notice a nuclear bomb going off inside of it.

Edited by rkman
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Jupiter hardly noticed a comet (Shoemaker-Levy 9) slamming into its atmosphere at several kilometers per second. Ensuing explosions vere much, much bigger than any nuclear explosion we could produce. All that remained were slight (relatively) disruptions of cloud system - and it faded with time. So no - our entire nuclear arsenal detonated in one place would not make Jupiter to begin nuclear fusion.

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To clarify, I ment would it be enough to start the fission/fusion reaction to make a star

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_Shoemaker%E2%80%93Levy_9

"Over the next 6 days, 21 distinct impacts were observed, with the largest coming on July 18 at 07:33 UTC when fragment G struck Jupiter. This impact created a giant dark spot over 12,000 km across, and was estimated to have released an energy equivalent to 6,000,000 megatons of TNT (600 times the world's nuclear arsenal)"

No. It wouldn't.

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Nope ! Not even a meaningful spark of Jupiter's helium or hydrogen !

Long version :

The reason why you see stars (and sun) shines is their nuclear fusion reaction. And the reason why it lasts isn't because of the energy released by the fusion - it's pressure (and heat, compressed things tends to get hot) from the "weight" of layers of star materials. The fusion reaction does help a bit by keeping influx of fast moving materials, but much work is done by gravitational compression. Unlike fission, fusion reaction don't have a "chain reaction" mechanism, that one fusion reaction makes them more likely to happen. As long as Jupiter can't stand to ensure enough pressure is there on its own, you won't see it become a long lasting star - at most, you'd just make it the core fuel of your nuclear device, and get the front seat to watch a single transient event where you have destroyed Jupiter. Congrats !

Edited by YNM
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Just like to note that until we have further data on Jupiters composition, it's possible it will have a considerable Deuterium layer - this would be quite simple to 'ignite' and could give you something as bright as a Star (for a short while).

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If ignited, it would fizzle quickly because Jupiter can't maintain the pressure to sustain fusion - if it could, it would already be burning.

The layer would indeed end quickly in astrological terms, and no, it wouldn't be able to occur naturally without a very directed impact or detonation. Petrol still burns quickly even in a more oxygen-deprived environment (analogy).

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Just like to note that until we have further data on Jupiters composition, it's possible it will have a considerable Deuterium layer - this would be quite simple to 'ignite' and could give you something as bright as a Star (for a short while).

Look at the design of fusion nuclear bombs - you put fission material all the way around the fusion material, ensuring equal pressure here and there (fission material is needed to compress). You'd need to insert two layer of nukes to do the same for that deuterium layer on Jupiter - and even, I never heard about any kind of isotope segregation inside gas giants.

The layer would indeed end quickly in astrological terms, and no, it wouldn't be able to occur naturally without a very directed impact or detonation. Petrol still burns quickly even in a more oxygen-deprived environment (analogy).

Astrological ?

And things still burn as long as the oxidizer is there and there's enough energy to overcome the activation energy. Unless you want to burn things in full vacuum...

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Look at the design of fusion nuclear bombs - you put fission material all the way around the fusion material, ensuring equal pressure here and there (fission material is needed to compress). You'd need to insert two layer of nukes to do the same for that deuterium layer on Jupiter - and even, I never heard about any kind of isotope segregation inside gas giants.

Astrological ?

And things still burn as long as the oxidizer is there and there's enough energy to overcome the activation energy. Unless you want to burn things in full vacuum...

Isotope segregation is theorized and discussed in quite a few papers. One of the more prominent examples is the possible deuterium layer in Jupiter.

I thought we were talking about hypothetical examples, and this example does indeed give you something with pretty immense energy output without adding mass. Of course you're going to need a lot of 'luck'. Even if there was a natural layer, it probably wouldn't be dense enough - but in theory, if it was, a large enough asteroid could cause it.

E: I don't know if you're confused or if i'm reading what you're saying wrong but a nuclear detonation isn't strictly needed but they're really the only way we have of outputting enough energy (or anywhere near).

E2: Silly mistake, could hear my old physics teacher crying

Edited by Linear
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Isotope segregation is theorized and discussed in quite a few papers. One of the more prominent examples is the possible deuterium layer in Jupiter.

Could you link it ? Searching in ADS or arxiv didn't gave results with convincing (directly saying layers, not just some enrichment or so) titles...

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  • 1 year later...

I simulated this on universe sandbox and well jupiter becometh  the size of half sun and basically jupiter and the sun orbited each other and that meaned bad news for earth, surface temperature decreased to 5 degrees celsius and then invreased to 210 degrees celsius yeah not good for mankind xD

Edited by PaulinhoDuartinho
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