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The Faint Young Sun (is not a) Problem

11 Jul 2020, 20:28 UTC
The Faint Young Sun (is not a) Problem
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Title: Is the faint young Sun problem for Earth solved?Authors: Benjamin Charnay, Eric T. Wolf, Bernard Marty, and François ForgetFirst Author’s Institution: LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, Université de Paris, Meudon, FranceStatus: Accepted to Space Science Reviews, available as ArXiv preprint [open access]Like other stars, our Sun has likely evolved and changed during its life—born of a molecular cloud, coalesced in a disk, and currently burning through its supply of hydrogen as a rather typical main sequence star. We infer this history by studying other stars at different stages of their life cycle and by creating models to help us simulate our own star’s evolution. An early realization of these studies was that the young Sun would have been 20–25% less luminous, resulting in a much colder Earth. However, our geologic record contradicts this lower solar luminosity with clear evidence that liquid water was abundant during the Archean (an early geologic eon stretching 3.8–2.5 billion years ago, AKA 3.8–2.5 Ga). This apparent discrepancy, known as the faint young Sun problem, has plagued researchers for decades. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) could have kept the early Earth warm despite a less luminous Sun, but geochemical studies ...

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