So you think the human race is going to survive the next billion years?
We once considered the Sun a planet, and it took finding Uranus to decide that moons should really be their own category of thing. These are all the places in our solar system that were once planets—but now have far more suitable names.
If you mean simply "is not visible" then very little, we'd have a second of darkness, not unlike an eclipse, and then we'd be back to normal. If on the other hand, you mean "ceases to exist momentarily" then you're talking about something else entirely.
Trying to watch the sun's explosions with your naked eyes is a recipe for blindness, but luckily NASA has a couple of telescopes that can show you all that fusion glory with none of the permanent ocular damage. Take, for instance, this 200,000-mile long canyon of fire.
For as long as we've bothered to care about heavenly bodies other than our own, we've thought that the size of the Sun varies throughout its 11-year solar cycles. Intense magnetic forces, the theory went, rendered it as malleable as a sturdy stress ball. That was a good theory, backed up by decades of data.
You might have had a peaceful day here, but up above, some serious solar violence just went down: an ejection of scorching plasma just erupted from the Sun. Enough to burn its away across ten Earths.
Everything comes to an end, and our sun is no exception. A star happily cooking along in its middle age, Sol has many millions of good years ahead of it — but its eventual doom is certain. Here's what that will look like.
The fruits of today's Sun UK hack are starting to dangle down: LulzSec (out of retirement?) and Anon are tweeting logins of some serious British media brass. Foremost? Rebekah Brooks, the epicenter of England's voicemail hacking scandal. Update: phone numbers!
For the last few years the sun has been kicking back and relaxing. A lot. Although a huge solar flare recently made headlines, the surface of the sun has been quiet lately. Sunspots have been more scarce than they've been in the last 200 years. All solar activity is low. And it looks like it's going to stay that way…
Fact: Space is a freak show. But that link goes to a post about deep space, beyond our solar system. Thanks to the IBEX probe, however, we're quickly learning that our own backyard is rife with the freaky-deaky too.
After nearly a decade of quiet, the Sun is waking up in a big way, and this picture from August 1 shows the most dramatic eruption yet, including a solar flare, a "solar tsunami," shifting magnetism, shaken corona, and more.
Sun dogs, or parhelia, are little back-up suns that appear on either side of the sun. They are the Pips to the sun's Gladys, the Lion and the Witch to the sun's Wardrobe, and they look way cooler than rainbows.
Fueling fears about the dimming sun, scientists are predicting that the current solar cycle is not only running a year or so late, but will also be the weakest cycle since 1928. Solar disaster!
Just remember, it could happen to any of us—at any time. Perhaps it will be the draw of soft Barry White playing on our alluring RED Nano, or a particularly revealing angle as Lara Croft illuminates our smooth, curvy, porcelain-white Xbox 360. Indeed, the question is really less "how" than "when".