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Post by DDivascout on 26th March 2018, 5:29 pm

Hello everyone!

    I'm currently working on a book series based on another planet, and admittedly I don't know much about the science behind it. I have a question and am sure I will have more as the writing process continues. I figured it would be better to have at least some scientific evidence/plausibility behind the plot and details in my book, so I came here! If you don't think you guys can help me, don't worry about it. I'm sure I can find someplace else that can if you can't. (And no, that's not me doubting you.) I have no doubt you guys can answer me!

    That said, I'll go ahead and give you guys my first question since I already wasted your time with a big long intro. In my book, part of the plot is that the "sun" of this planet is about to explode. How would they know this in time for them to escape, assuming they had the technology to do so? Would there be solar flares before it happened? I suppose that was two questions, but they came from the same idea. Please help if you can. I appreciate it greatly!

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Post by Sirius_Alpha on 27th March 2018, 7:19 pm

Hey! Thanks for joining our forum Smile

Presumably they would know enough about stellar evolution to know that the star could die at "any moment." Certainly the habitable zone of the system would have been moving outward away from the star for long enough (millions of years) by then that unless they were already moving the planet or had already abandoned it, they wouldn't be around anymore anyway.

The sort of explosion you're talking about, unless I'm mistaken, tends to happen around highly massive stars which don't spend a lot of time on the main sequence, so there would be the problem of "Is your star likely to live long enough for life to develop around its planets anyway?" It sounds like the answer is "no." But that aside, there's various stages of fusion that massive stars go through, and it should be possible for a sufficiently advanced civilization to determine where it's star is on this process. For example, when our sun, which currently fuses hydrogen into helium, starts fusing helium into into carbon, it will undergo a catastrophic event (from the perspective of life on its planets) called the helium flash. Higher mass stars would experience these as well, lots of them, as helium is fused in the shells around the core.

One can probably use asteroseismology to determine which stage of fusion their star is at. Once a star reaches silicon fusion, you've got about a week before the star submits to a core collapse supernova.

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