# Is it possible to touch stars with our bare hands?

Well I'm new to Space SE and have gone through many questions but I couldn't help but notice that is it even remotely possible that one can touch the stars without burning him/her self ? Is there any kind of possibility ?

• Obligatory "What if"/xkcd entry. – DarkDust Jun 27 '17 at 7:45
• also, parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu - 4mln km is already within Sun corona. – SF. Jun 27 '17 at 7:58
• Guys this question does not deserve down votes. Sure it could benefit from some formatting, but you have an edit function for that. – Antzi Jun 27 '17 at 8:43
• @DarkDust: Temperature is half of the problem. The other half is gravity. A brown dwarf will be 20 times heavier than Jupiter. – SF. Jun 27 '17 at 8:56
• Apart from considerations of surface temperature... there is no surface. Just continuously increasing density. So if you wanna go hard science with this question, then the answer must be No. – AtmosphericPrisonEscape Jun 27 '17 at 10:58

Surprisingly, yes, for some of them.

Small, old stars can be at room temperature ex: WISE 1828+2650, so you could touch the surface without getting burned.

Any star you can see in the sky with the naked eye, however, would be hot enough to destroy your body instantaneously if you came anywhere near them.

An article about cold stars:

https://www.universetoday.com/129154/can-stars-cold/

• Even a percent of the distance from earth to sun would be too close. About 10,000 times of light intensity. But still far away. – Uwe Jun 27 '17 at 9:26
• @Uwe yes, but surprisingly for people who live in cities, there is other stars than the sun. – Antzi Jun 27 '17 at 10:01
• I don't believe this answer is accurate. If I understand correctly what Wikipedia is telling us about the mass of the star. You would be squished to pulp by the gravity of WISE 1828+2650 if you got close enough to touch it. – James Jenkins Jun 27 '17 at 12:33
• I think it's like a super-Jupiter...there would be a number of problems, but in short, the temperature is something like 80 degrees from internal nuclear activity. – Chris B. Behrens Jun 27 '17 at 21:12
• @JamesJenkins OP asked about getting burned; I answered this part. gravity is a different matter. If I follow your thinking I should answer "no because you have no way of getting there in the first place" – Antzi Jun 28 '17 at 1:12

No. While none exist to date it would be possible for a dead star to have cooled to a safe temperature. However, such objects are inherently supported by degeneracy pressure--they're very dense. Very heavy & very dense = very high surface gravity (typically 300,000+g.) While you're not burned you're squashed.

The low mass limit for a brown dwarf is 13 times Jupiter's mass. However, Jupiter is about as big as such things get, piling on more mass increases the pressure enough the size stays about constant. Jupiter's gravity is already 2.5g, for a constant size surface gravity scales linearly with mass, so a brown dwarf should have a surface gravity upwards of 30g. You're not quite so squashed as you were on the dead star but you're still squashed.

You might be touching a piece of one right now. Heavier elements, like gold, are formed when massive stars undergo a supernova at the end of their lives. During this gigantic explosion they fuse elements together to form heavier ones, which then get scattered out into space as dust, which eventually coalesces under gravity, forms a planet, and with a bit of luck, evolves life forms which mine and smelt that gold and turn it into jewelry. So if you have a gold ring or chain on you, spend a minute to think how it was made in the core of a dying star.

• Carbon is also made in stars (non super-nova stars), isn't it? So you're made of star stuff even if you don't have a gold ring. But a ring that was made in a massive exploding star is cool. – Wayne Conrad Jun 27 '17 at 15:02
• This answer doesn't address the "without burning" facet of the question, but I think it's a valid perspective to take, and one that OP might not have thought of. I don't think it deserves downvotes. – Bear Jun 27 '17 at 15:16
• I think gold is mostly formed in neutron star collisions. Makes my wedding ring extra cool. – zeta-band Oct 2 '18 at 16:27

The outer layers of a red giant or supergiant star are, although hot, extremely tenuous. For instance VY Canis Majoris has an average density of a few $$mg$$ per cubic meter. It might be possible to dive through the outer parts of the star on a hyperbolic orbit and escape before your spacecraft picked up enough heat energy to be a problem. If you could do that, then you could put on a spacesuit with a small hole in one glove, and open up the cabin briefly. It would feel like the spot on your hand was exposed to vacuum (painful, but not immediately dangerous for a small spot) but technically I think you would be touching the star.