Anton PetrovDate of publication
Title : Can Jupiter Ever Become a Star?
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A red Dwarf in Jupiter's position would only increase the light on the Earth by about 1 watt per meter squared, which would still cause some global warming, but probably would take decades or centuries to add up to even one degree Celsius temperature change. Basically, it wouldn't even be as bright as the full moon at night. This is due to the Inverse Squared Law of forces. When Jupiter is at it's closest approach to Earth, using round numbers, that's 4 astronomical units, and when it's farthest away is about 6 astronomical units, so Earth wouldn't experience any warming at all across a few months time period. You'd need to run the model out a couple hundred years to find the new equilibrium temperature of the Earth, which would probably only be about 0.25C warmer, or about one quarter of one degree Celsius.
I wonder how many people were told —like I was as a child in the 1970's— that the sun was a failed star? That it formed but didn't ignite. So it looks like it would need way more matter than even the sun has!
So then what did the solar system mass look like that would become the Solar System?
True, Jupiter is too small to self-ignite into a stable, self-sustaining star. BUT -- if you set off a 50 megaton H-bomb down deep in the hydrogen-metal layers, thousands of miles down -- enormous containment pressure for the explosion, and highly compressed fusion fuel surrounding it -- the whole planetary core of hydrogen metal DETONATES at lightspeed like a FLASHBULB going off! Self ignition -- hard, needs mass. Detonation -- easy, just get a large fusion bomb down there far enough. Scary thought.
But given Jupiter is almost all hydrogen would not detonating a nuke inside it cause a runaway reaction in the atmosphere that might cause the whole thing to convert into a star if the nuke were powerful enough? Sort of like what the developers of the bomb were worried would happen with our own atmosphere though to a much lesser extent.