How much TNT would you need to blow up the Sun?

Hint: it’s a lot



Asked by Chris Richardson

To completely vaporise the Sun you need to overcome something called its gravitational binding energy. To do that would require a lump of TNT larger than the Sun, roughly 6 x 1034 tons (60 billion, trillion, trillion tons!).

Overcoming the gravitational binding energy would destroy the Sun, as this is the energy required to blow all its bits to an infinite distance away.

Obviously, you wouldn’t need nearly as much of an energy release to cause problems for us here on Earth: the Sun regularly shrugs off solar flares with little to no affect on itself, but some coronal mass ejections that follow can cause havoc with satellites and power grids on Earth. These can have an energy output equivalent to 1.6 x 1017 (160,000 trillion) tons of TNT.

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