sun facts

It’s good to know the following sun facts:

The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, heated to incandescence by nuclear fusion reactions in its core, radiating the energy mainly as visible light, ultraviolet light, and infrared radiation. It is by far the most important source of energy for life on Earth.

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The Solar System

Its diameter is about 1.39 million 864,000 miles, or 109 times that of Earth. Its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth; it accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System. Roughly three quarters of the Sun’s mass consists of hydrogen (~73%); the rest is mostly helium (~25%), with much smaller quantities of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon and iron.

The Sun is a yellow dwarf (its light is closer to white than yellow). It formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago.

The Sun’s core fuses about 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium every second, converting 4 million tons of matter into energy every second as a result. This energy, which can take between 10,000 and 170,000 years to escape the core, is the source of the Sun’s light and heat. When hydrogen fusion in its core has diminished to the point at which the Sun is no longer in hydrostatic equilibrium, its core will undergo a marked increase in density and temperature while its outer layers expand, eventually transforming the Sun into a red giant. It is calculated that the Sun will become sufficiently large to engulf the current orbits of Mercury and Venus, and render Earth uninhabitable – but not for about five billion years.

It’s good to know that we earthlings have a lot of time to occupy the wonderful planet earth and the sun facts in these pages assure us that our descendants for the millennia to come has a long way to go!

General characteristics

The Sun is by far the brightest object in the Earth’s sky, with an apparent magnitude of −26.74. This is about 13 billion times brighter than the next brightest star, Sirius, which has an apparent magnitude of −1.46. One astronomical unit ( 93,000,000 miles) is defined as the mean distance of the Sun’s center to Earth’s center.

The energy of this sunlight supports almost all life on Earth by photosynthesis, and drives Earth’s climate and weather.

The Sun is moved by the gravitational pull of the planets.

The Sun has eight known planets. This includes four terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), two gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn), and two ice giants (Uranus and Neptune). The Solar System also has at least five dwarf planets, an asteroid belt, numerous comets, and a large number of icy bodies which lie beyond the orbit of Neptune.

Dwarf Planets

The Asteroid Belt

Halley’s Comet in 1986

More Interesting Sun Facts

 

Approximately 109 planet Earths would fit on the surface of the sun and more than one million planet Earths would fit inside of the sun.

Every 11 years, solar activity surges. The sunspots that pepper the sun explode, hurtling massive clouds of gas known as “CMEs” through the solar system. This is called “solar maximum.”

Approximately every 11 years, the sun reverses its overall magnetic polarity: its north magnetic pole becomes a south pole, and vice versa.

A Solar Flare

The most powerful solar flare occurred on September 1, 1859 and set telegraph wires on fire.

 Solar flares are jets of particles that burst from the sun and can disrupt satellite communications and knock out electricity on Earth.

More Amazing Sun Facts

The sun is the closest star to earth.

At its core, the sun’s temperature is about 15 million degrees Celsius (about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit).

The sun rotates on its axis once every 25.38 Earth days or 609.12 hours.

100,000,000,000 tons of dynamite would have to be detonated every second to match the energy produced by the sun.

A person weighing 150 pounds on Earth would weigh 4,200 pounds on the sun because the sun’s gravity is 28 times that of Earth.

All planets orbit the sun in the same direction, counterclockwise.

 In the sixteenth century, Nicholas Copernicus argued that it was the Earth that traveled around the sun. Before that, Ancient Greek, ancient Roman, and medieval philosophers usually combined the geocentric model with a spherical Earth, in contrast to the older flat-Earth model implied in some mythology. It was gradually superseded by the heliocentric model of Copernicus (1473-1543), Galileo (1564-1642), and Kepler (1571-1630). However, Copernicus’s view of the solar system wasn’t accepted for many years until Newton formulated his laws of motion.

Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance polymath, active as a mathematician, astronomer, and Catholic canon, who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at its center

Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei was an Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath, from Pisa

Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and natural philosopher

Sir Isaac Newton  was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author who is widely recognised as one of the greatest mathematicians and most influential scientists of all time