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spaceSpace and Physicsspacephysics

How Many Earths Can Fit Inside The Sun?

Spoiler, it’s not 1.3 million.

author

Charlie Haigh

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

clockAug 19 2022, 09:47 UTC
Not to scale image of the Earth next to the Sun in space.
If this image was to scale, this would be a very short article. Image credit: Aphelleon/Shutterstock.com

The Sun, our star at the center of the Solar System, is pretty hefty. With a radius of over 695,000 kilometers (432,000 miles), it makes up 99.86 percent of the mass of the entire Solar System. In comparison, our measly planet has a radius of around 6,350 kilometers (3,946 miles) and makes up an imperceivably small amount of the total mass of the solar system.

But just how many Earths could fit inside our big fat Sun?

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A quick Google search will tell you this number is around 1.3 million, but it turns out filling an enormous sphere with a bunch of tiny spheres is not that simple. 

The 1.3 million figure comes from the division of the volume of the Sun (1.412 x 1018 km3) by the volume of the Earth (1.083 x 1012 km3), which would be a reasonable sum to do if our planet were somehow melted and turned into a liquid goop.

Much to the disappointment of some, however, our planet is physically still very much intact. So, when we figuratively cram it into a star 150 million kilometers (93 million miles) away, we need to be realistic.

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Lucky for us, Youtuber Nick Lucid has done the math already, in his video fittingly titled “I proved 1,300,000 Earths WON'T fit in the Sun.” Treating the Earth as a solid sphere, Lucid runs several simulations to attempt to answer this surprisingly complex equation, and with the consideration of packing density percentage, he reaches a sum far from the 1.3 million liquid total.

By running both a coded simulation and checking those numbers against a real-life model, Lucid concluded the total number of whole intact Earths to fit inside our Sun would be (drum roll) 932,884. This is with a packing density of 72.03 percent, which accounts for all the empty space between the planets.

So, for however long our planet remains not-a-liquid, the answer won’t be 1.3 million ­– and you can show this to any pub quizmaster who tries to tell you otherwise.

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spaceSpace and Physicsspacephysics
  • tag
  • the Sun,

  • planets,

  • physics

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