• Question: How many ducks would it take to fill up the sun?

    Asked by Thomas to Phil on 14 Mar 2017.
    • Photo: Phil Sutton

      Phil Sutton answered on 14 Mar 2017:

      Interesting choice of unit. My only concern is that ducks are not the same are not comparable from duck to duck. I.e. the size and volume a duck takes up will vary dependant on age, sex and type of duck. So first off let’s make some assumptions:
      – The duck to be used as a unit is a fully matured adult duck.
      – The duck is of average size when all ducks are considered. So if we have a group of adult ducks we will assume the statistical average size.
      – The Sun is spherical, it is fairly close to spherical but it not quite.

      We will disregard the fact that a duck placed in the gravity of the Sun will resemble something that is not dissimilar to a squashed chicken nugget, thus altering the volume of a duck. This is another variable that can over complicate the problem.

      Now let’s begin with the approximate volume of the Sun. The equation for the volume of a sphere is v=(3/4)*PI*r^3. In this case the radius (r) of the sun is 6,957,00,000m. Therefore the volume of the sun if it was a sphere is 7.93x10e27m^3.

      Now let’s look at the volume of a duck. The average adult mallard duck is 50 – 65cm long. Now a duck isn’t spherical so let’s reduce this to about 35cm and work out a volume if it was a sphere. Science is all about making the best approximations you can, please refine my assumptions if you think you can get them better. Therefore the average duck would have a volume of 0.1m^3.

      If my calculations are correct (and they will be out by a few ducks) then you could fit 7.93x10e28 ducks inside the Sun. Please feel free to check my working but I believe this to be a correct answer with respect to the volume of the Sun in units of ducks.