The stars disappear. How does this affect earth?

Say there suddenly were no stars in the universe except for our sun. Maybe the Hypothetical Fairy got very bored and waved her magic wand. Does this have any effect on us and our solar system (besides putting asntronemers out of a job and confusing nocturnal animals)?
What if it’s just the stars in our galaxy?
In our arm of the Milky Way?
Just the stars right next door to us?

(Or the opposite- it’s only the neighboring stars that survive).

Stars are so vastly distant, I can’t think of any effect from our hidy-hole in the universe over timespans other than eons that would be noticeable, other than it being a tiny bit darker at night.

I thought it might mess with gravity or rotation or whatever.

But I’m no astronomer.

EDIT: I’m interested in eon-ic timespans too.

It could affect Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) since these use celestial sighting to correct any errors in their inertial guidance systems. The idea is that no bad how things get here on earth, the stars won’t change anytime soon. I am not sure about ICBMs.

From Wikipedia:

“The missile attains a temporary low altitude orbit only a few minutes after launch. The Guidance System for the missile was developed by the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and is maintained by a joint Draper/General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems facility. It is an Inertial Guidance System with an additional Star-Sighting system, which is used to correct small position and velocity errors that result from launch condition uncertainties due to the sub navigation system errors and some errors that have accrued by the guidance system during the flight due to imperfect instrument calibration. GPS has been used on some test flights but is assumed not to be available for a real mission. The fire control system was designed and continues to be maintained by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.”

Even speaking in timespans astronomical, if the entire universe only contained our solar system, I think we’d be just fine, for another 4 billion years or so when our sun will bloat into a red giant, then finish it’s life as an ever cooling white dwarf.

So, there’s no hope for escaping this particular fate assuming whatever lifeforms/beings remain from Earth 4 billion years from now, because there’d be no where to run.

Excellent point. However we’d still have the bodies in our solar system that could take their place. Less to work with, sure, but from space, the planets might be enough if this system for orbital course correction or navigation couldn’t find a work around.

If it happened now, probably not a whole lot. If it happened in ancient times, then humanity might have developed very different because celestial navigation at night would have been more difficult, and perhaps Europeans would not have colonized the world.

If memory serves, a cute red-haired Scottish girl gets married and then something magical happens.

Cosmic ray flux would diminish towards zero.

IANAn astronomer - just pulling ideas from the air here.

If the galaxy just disappeared, I would think the overall movement of the solar system would change - the gravitational forces that keep us in our spiral arm movement would release, which might speed up our over all rotation (as a Solar System Group, that is.) We might not be able to detect this at all, since we’d have no point of reference. But it could be enough to allow the outer bodies to fling themselves off into space.

Likewise, all those planets throughout the galaxy would come untethered without the gravitational force of their stars, and just continue moving in whatever direction, at whatever speed, they were at the time of the disappearance. How many are there? What’s the chance of any of them being on a collision course with our final course? I dunno, but there would be a great deal more potential collision objects, of a far greater mass than previously.

Chances of actual collision might still be quite small, but the chances of any collision that does occur being utterly catastrophic would increase substantially.

Given the distances involved, and the small size of our sun, I doubt we would actually grab any new bodies into the system; unless it happened to be moving in the right direction at just the right rate, which is probably only slightly more likely than an actual Earth collision.

Well, any body with mass exerts a gravitational force on every other body with mass, regardless of distance. But because the distance is so enormous, as others have pointed out, the force is pretty negligible.

Many satellites too, although I don’t know which ones. Here’s a Ball Aerospace pageon them.

I’d guess there’d be work-arounds for new satellites, but some of the ones up there may have problems.

ETA: From Wikipedia:

The new sky-show at the planetarium would be really boring.

But it’d be cheap to produce! Every town could have a planetarium…

That means carbon 14 radiocarbon dating would go out the window…if I am understanding these thing correctly.

Actually, it would take years for us to even notice. The nearest star is 4 or 5 light years away, and most are much, much further away than that. Thats assuming, of course, that the hypotetical fairy only made the stars dissapear, and not the light already emited from said stars.

If Mach’s principle is true, then which reference frames are non-rotating would change, since the matter distribution of the universe suddenly switched from uniform to very lopsided as far as the Earth is concerned.


On the plus side, Cthulhu never rises because the stars will never be right.

What about the rotational motion due to the solar system orbiting the galaxy (220 km/sec) which would instantaneously disappear?

the sun would keep going in a straight line at 220 km/sec instead of arcing to orbit the galaxy. If the gravitational mass of the galaxy instantly disappeared the sudden change in suns direction would surely have some orbital effects on the rest of the solar system wouldn’t it?

Would all life on earth be killed due to a sudden massive inertial force due to the suns sudden change in direction?