What event could make our Sun nova in only a couple centuries?

I read a Clarke short story where the premise was that scientists descovered that the Sun was going to Nova in only a couple centuries. The story never said why. What type of event could cause this?

A piece of a neutron star slamming into it?

An atom sized black hole?

A huge, long, and dense stream of intersteller hydrogene gas?

Any ideas?

Clarke’s story is based on the “neutrino problem”. The sun does not appear to emit the right number of neutrinos. Turns out that neutrino’s actually change mass as they travel and so we only saw a fraction of the total created.

Here’s the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory that confirmed the mass oscillations:http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/

Any of your ideas would probably manage to make our sun go nova.

Neutron star for certain.

Atom sized black hole…don’t know if they come that small but if it fell into the center of our sun and started collpasing the core then the outer layers probably would blow off.

Stream of hydrogen gas…depends on how much mass the stream adds to the sun. You’d have to add a helluva lot of mass before you got our sun in the area where it would go nova and even then you’d still have to likely wait many millions if not billions of years to see it happen anyway. If you added mass really fast then you’re back into the area of having something like another sun slam into ours which would be a bad thing for us mortals on earth and would almost certainly cause an large stellar explosion.

Well… Basically anything that causes the controlled fusion reaction to become radically unstable, to the point where either, there is too much fusion too fast, or there isn’t enough fusion.

I’d think an atom sized blackhole would cause the sun to implode?

Yeah but if you look into black hole formation it is usually preceded by a supernova. As the core collapses a shock wave will form and blow off the outer layers leaving behind the black hole.

Same goes for a neutron star.

Ok, how big would the chunk of neutron star have to be and how much mass would it need?

What about a brown dwarf or Dark Matter? What would that do?

What about this scenario:
A neutron star the size of a pea but about 2x as dense as the sun is headed on a collison course with the sun. What would happen to the earth, the sun, ETC as the neutron star approaches?

You can’t have a neutron star that is pea sized, it would not be stable.

Back to the hydrogen gas. If the hydrogen gas was extremely rich in neutrons (ie was mostly deut or trit), fusion would happen MUCH faster in the sun. One of the things that keeps the pace of fusion under control is the lack of required neutrons to make helium.

The November 2002 issue of Scientific American discussed what would happen if a white dwarf star collided with the Sun. IIRC, the white dwarf would pass through the Sun essentially unharmed. The Sun would end destroyed somehow, though. :frowning:

I’ll have to re-read the article for details.

As mentioned a neutron star the size of a pea wouldn’t be stable. Even if it were stable I don’t think you’d see much happen. A neutron star the size of a pea would be MUCH more dense than twice that of the sun’s core. It would also only have a mass around that of Mt. Everest. Quite heavy for a pea to be sure but that amount of mass in our solar system wouldn’t affect much gravitationally and is a drop in the bucket compared to the mass of the sun.