Top 10 Facts About the Sun

The Top Ten
1 The Sun contains 99.86% of the mass in the Solar System

The Sun may appear small in the sky, but it is by no means smaller than the Earth or any other planet in our solar system. In fact, the Sun is so big that it can fit over 1 million Earths inside. How big!

2 Light from the Sun takes eight minutes to reach Earth, 40 minutes to reach Jupiter and 7 hours to reach the edge of the Solar System.

The speed of light is about 671 million miles per hour (186,000 miles per second), and the distance of the Earth from the Sun is 150 million kilometers. Hence, sunlight takes approximately 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach Earth. If the Sun were to go out right now, that's how long it would take before the temperatures begin plummeting to freezing levels.

So we would have to travel 7 hours even with the speed of light to leave the solar system. Incredible!

3 The Sun's strong gravitational pull holds Earth and the other planets in place

This is the only one I knew. I am so dumb! Gosh, I love Matrixguy's lists.

4 The Sun's gravity is 28 times that of Earth
5 The temperature inside the Sun can reach 15 million degrees Celsius. Its surface temperature is 5500 degrees Celsius.

15 million degrees Celsius? I would die in that!

6 If we could remove the bright, glowing surface of the Sun, we would see nothing other than blackness. Only the Sun's outer surface shines brightly.

The thermal pressure and degeneracy pressure, which keep the Sun's volume static against gravity, prevent visible light from traveling through it. The fusion process releases energy as gamma radiation, which shifts by the time it gets to the surface. Thus, it takes a long time for light within the Sun to reach the surface, and orders of magnitude less time to reach Earth from the surface.

7 The Sun is approximately 150 million kilometers away from the Earth

Do you ever wonder why the Sun appears much smaller than the Earth, despite the Sun being much larger? The Sun's distance from the Earth is approximately 150 million kilometers. That's equivalent to approximately 3,744 trips around the Earth!

8 A full solar eclipse can last for seven and a half minutes
9 Nothing can survive on the Sun

We do need the Sun for survival, make no mistake there! Without it, the Earth would be a lifeless, frozen ice ball. At the same time, if you tried to go near the Sun, your body would rapidly disintegrate. Scary!

10 The Sun emits UV rays that can cause skin cancer

That's right, kids. When your mom asks you to put on your sunscreen, listen! The Sun's UV rays are dangerous and can cause skin cancer. Don't even think about looking at the Sun without your sunglasses either, lest you suffer permanent vision damage.

The Contenders
11 The official definition of a star like The Sun is a "Yellow G2 Dwarf." It is an average, middle-aged star.
12 The Sun is one of the cooler stars

That's right! The Sun is incredibly hot, but compared to blue stars, you'll quickly realize it's relatively cooler. Imagine how catastrophic it would be if our Earth orbited a blue giant!

13 The Sun consists of multiple layers

The Sun's layers consist of the Core, Radiative Zone, Convection Zone, Photosphere, Chromosphere, Transition Region, and the Corona.

The Core (27 million degrees Fahrenheit): The core is the hottest part of the Sun where a process known as nuclear fusion takes place. Hydrogen atoms fuse into helium in this layer. Nuclear fusion is what makes our Sun so hot and bright.

Radiative Zone (2 million degrees Fahrenheit): This layer lies outside the core. Radiant energy transfers from the core in the form of photons. In this layer, photons bounce off other particles.

Photosphere (9,900 degrees Fahrenheit): This is the visible surface of the Sun that emits visible light. It's what we see when we look at the Sun.

Chromosphere (7,200 degrees Fahrenheit to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit): This thin and reddish layer is right above the Photosphere. It becomes visible during a solar eclipse.

Corona (9,940 degrees Fahrenheit): This is the outermost layer of the Sun's atmosphere, which extends into space and is composed of hot, ionized gas.

14 The Sun emits light in all colors mixed together, which appears to be white

What? We were told the Sun is yellow, orange, or red. What is up with this "the Sun is all colors mixed" all of a sudden? Turns out, the Sun is all the colors mixed into one! The rainbow showcases all the colors being split.

Why do sunsets show red, yellow, and orange? The blue and green lights scatter away as the Sun is setting!

15 The Sun rises in the east and sets in the west due to the Earth's rotation
16 Nuclear fusion is what makes the Sun so hot

Right inside that core, there are trillions and trillions of hydrogen atoms that smash together and release an enormous amount of energy. That very energy gives us our very own hot Sun. Fascinating, isn't it?

17 The Sun travels at 220 kilometers per second
18 Sunrises and sunsets occur due to the Earth's rotation

Fun fact about the Earth: The Earth takes 1 day (24 hours) to make a full rotation.

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