0
$\begingroup$

If it were possible for us to create a star or a new sun, how could it be done, or how would it have to be done?

$\endgroup$

closed as off-topic by user10851, Kyle Kanos, Martin, JamalS, ACuriousMind Feb 12 '16 at 16:37

  • This question does not appear to be about physics within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You start with a big bang; then wait half a billion years or so... $\endgroup$ – hdhondt Feb 10 '16 at 22:12
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Why would you? There are 200 billions in the Milky Way, and you want more? $\endgroup$ – pela Feb 10 '16 at 22:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You have to tow planets/gases .. etc. (or any kind of matter) and keep dumping at one place where you want the star to be. For example you can start dumping stuff into jupiter. You keep dumping until it becomes a star. good luck! $\endgroup$ – kpv Feb 10 '16 at 22:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is one under construction in France $\endgroup$ – Count Iblis Feb 10 '16 at 22:44
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ This is a worldbuilding question asking us to speculate about fictional (and vague) capabilities that aren't obviously a part of science. $\endgroup$ – user10851 Feb 12 '16 at 2:49
3
$\begingroup$

Answering a question like this requires a shift in thinking from normal physics & engineering to something akin to the futuristic thinking accompanying the concept of a Dyson Sphere: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere With this in mind it seems that the only possibility for humankind to "create" a star in the foreseeable future would be through the "butterfly" effect. By that I mean introducing a small perturbation into a distant cloud of gas and dust that could get magnified by extreme sensitivity to initial conditions so that the resulting "storm" would be the formation of a new star. The perturbation could be delivered by a small space probe sent into an appropriately chosen cloud of gas in our galaxy: a cloud that already possessed the potential for star formation. Do we know how to do it now? No. Could we learn by intensive study? Yes. The possibility for funding such a project might improve in a few billion years as the red giant phase of our sun draws near (if man kind's propensity for science continues).

So what are the conditions required for the butterfly effect to manifest itself. The first requirement is a nonlinear system. The second is that the system exhibit dissipation (friction or viscosity). For fluid systems described by the Navier Stokes equations, both of these conditions are present. A final requirement is that the system be subject to periodic or aperiodic driving forces. Two gas clouds in orbit about each other and deforming via tidal forces fulfills this last requirement.

The ALMA observatory has recently produced a striking image of star formation in just such a scenario: http://www.almaobservatory.org/press-room/press-releases/723-dynamical-star-forming-gas-interaction-witnessed-by-alma- Following this link one see a newly formed star (a protostar) between two gas clouds. Below the astronomical image is a computer simulation of the dynamic interaction for two such fluids. In the region of overlap between the fluids the excessively turbulent rotating flow greatly resembles a hurricane or tornado. The implication is that such "stormy" conditions are indeed the cradles of star formation. This casts doubt upon previous views of star formation that supposed the process to proceed slowly via gravitational contraction of gently moving gas clouds. These stormy situations are where the colorful "butterfly effect" terminology originated.

So what are the possible "butterflies" that man kind could use to influence such a potentially star forming region and how could we ever know that we were in fact responsible for birthing a new star? Suppose we found a situation where the two gas clouds were just beginning to overlap and we were able to arrange for our probe to arrive on the scene (slowing down to just the right speed) at just this moment. We might "seed" turbulence into the clouds by releasing atomic oxygen from our rapidly spinning probe. The oxygen would react with hydrogen already present in the cloud to form a small vortex of water molecules and the nonlinear dynamics of storm formation could take it from there.

A much more likely scenario (although still exceedingly difficult with today's technology) would be for us to arrange for a probe to arrive after some turbulent motion had begun but before significant gravitational nucleation had started. This time our probe could release a strongly magnetized hunk of iron and seed the accretion process as iron dust (already present in the cloud from previous supernovas in the vicinity) was attracted. This magnetic attraction could significantly jump start the nucleation process since the electromagnetic force is many orders of magnitude stronger than the gravitational attraction.

The question of "how would we ever know" that we were responsible is much more difficult to answer. Stars are formed all the time, after all, without our assistance. The answer to that will have to come from future advances in our understanding of nonlinear dynamics perhaps learned from interactions with a civilization that already inhabits a Dyson Sphere.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The butterfly effect only works on dissipative systems that are driven by an energy source. It doesn't work on conservative systems. While there is a little bit of dissipation in the solar system, even today, it's not enough anymore to do what you have in mind (otherwise a new star and planets would be forming anyway). $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Feb 10 '16 at 22:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You don't need a trigger for that. Gas clouds have been forming stars since the beginning of the universe. If anything, we lack the theoretical explanation of how they did it as fast as they did, but there is certainly no need to give them a hand. :-) $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Feb 11 '16 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ Hey guys, (Lewis and @CuriousOne) why don't you add a summary of your conversation in Lewis's answer? You both make some points that are very interesting and relevant. $\endgroup$ – WetSavannaAnimal Feb 11 '16 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ @WetSavannaAnimalakaRodVance Have taken your suggestion. Will delete my comments. $\endgroup$ – Lewis Miller Feb 11 '16 at 23:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @CuriousOne suggest you delete your comments if you agree my edit adequately represents them. $\endgroup$ – Lewis Miller Feb 11 '16 at 23:33
2
$\begingroup$

Step 1: Locate hydrogen source.

Step 2: Create a massive shock wave which will compress the gas in some parts and rarefy it in others. This gives you a mass gradient.

Step 3: Wait.

Step 4: Hopefully in a few million years time, the concentration of hydrogen is critical enough that it starts to sustain thermonuclear reactions.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

There is no way to "ignite" a gas giant: even if you could temporarily start fusion in it's core, any artificially-generated reaction like this would be self-limiting: the energy it creates causes the proto-star to expand a little bit, and then nothing else happens.

If we had infinite time, we could always create a star by just collecting an absurd amount of matter and bringing it all to the same place, but it's hard to imagine this ever being a worthwhile endeavor.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The old Usenet joke had you collecting the only infinite mass supply in the universe: AOL disks. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Feb 11 '16 at 6:49
-1
$\begingroup$

This is my guess but seems possible. If there was very cold gas giant (few times grater than Jupiter) than one could try to "ignite" it - start nuclear fusion. It has to be very cold so that reaction would not be started automatically. The idea is to drop a bomb (hydrogen for example) to the core of the planet. Bomb has to withstand extreme preasure while falling into the core but shield has to be weak enough to break due to presure from the inside of the bomb after explosion.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ "(few times grater than Jupiter" For values of "a few" on order of 70. Seriously, the Tzar bomb wasn't even a Christmas popper compared to Jupiter's sustained Virial heating and Jupiter nearly two orders of magnitude too small for even a trickle of fusion (which is what red dwarfs get; don't think "ignition" think "things are cramped enough that quantum mechanics allows the star to occasionally get lucky"). $\endgroup$ – dmckee Feb 11 '16 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ At the very minimum, you'd need it to be at least 13 Jupiter masses (generally regarded as the minimum mass of most brown dwarfs). At that point, you'd only have deuterium fusion. To create a small, dim, red dwarf, you need to multiply that by about 6. I also disagree about the temperature. Nuclear fusion via the p-p chain can start at ~ 10$^7$ Kelvin, and planets do not get that hot. Related question. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 11 '16 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ I think you are right about the size of the planet. I agree about quantum mechanical effect - once a while spontaneous two particle fusion appear. The idea is to have such a preasure and temperature that two particle fusion will not start chain reaction but nuclear bomb will start. I thought about about planet temperatures where matter is in super fluid state - heat conduction is very fast. $\endgroup$ – Pawel Welsberg Feb 12 '16 at 9:21
-1
$\begingroup$

Have you ever read Arthur C Clarke's book called "2010"

Intelligent aliens increased the mass of Jupiter until it reached a critical point and collapsed into a small star. The reason was to create a small solar system with the moons of Jupiter increasing the chance of life on Europa.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.