How much gold is in the Sun?

The sun is a bright massive object in the sky, about 1000000 times more massive than the Earth, and there be gold in the sun. It is there just waiting to be mined, well not really. But there is gold.

The Sun like all other stars of its type is primarily composed of hydrogen, the most abundant element in the cosmos. After hydrogen, the second most abundant element is helium, which is not that surprising since the word helium is derived from the word Helios which means the Sun. The element was observed in the Sun before it was discovered in the Earth. Once we account for all the helium and hydrogen in the Sun, which makes up almost all of the mass of the Sun, then we find traces of most of all the remaining elements from the periodic table like carbon, oxygen, iron, copper and of course gold.

In the Sun, only an itsy-bitsy fraction of the Sun contains gold, in terms of the number of gold atoms, the Sun is has an abundance on the logarithm scale of -11.05 or 1 gold atom for every 100 billion atoms in the Sun. For comparison, there is about the same fractional amount of gold on the Earth, gold is not really more common or rarer on Earth as in the Sun.

But, how much gold is there in the Sun? The mass of the Sun is about 2 times 10^30 kg or 2 with 30 zeros after, so pretty heavy. Seventy-two percent of that mass is hydrogen, and about twenty-five percent is helium. Gold has mass 79 times that of hydrogen which means the mass fraction of gold is about 0.00000004%. This means that there is about 8 time 10^20 kg of gold in the Sun, that is 8 with twenty zeros after. That is a lot of gold, and gold is worth about $45 (Canadian) per gram or $45,000 per kilogram. There is about $3.6 times 10^24 worth of gold in the Sun, that is a trillion times a trillion dollars. That is a lot of money (give or take a zero or two), and doesn’t include that there are also rare earth elements, silver, platinum in the Sun too.

The Sun and stars in the Galaxy are mostly hydrogen and helium, but there is also gold, iron, copper, platinum, rare earth elements like those used for cell phones. These elements were not created in the Sun but were there when the Sun formed. The elements were deposited in that the solar cloud when stars more massive than the Sun exploded, creating these elements in the explosion and spreading them throughout the cosmos. These elements end up in the natal cloud that forms the Sun as well as the planets that form about the Sun and in the life that forms in the planets and the gold and precious minerals that ends up as jewelry, art, and technology use by that life, like us.

So now we just need to figure out how to mine the Sun. Of course, it might be more valuable not to mine the Sun and maybe use some of the solar radiation to generate electricity, just a thought.