Top 10 Facts About the Sun
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!
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, the sunlight takes approximately 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach the 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!
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15 million degrees Celsius? I would die in that!
Do you ever wonder why the sun appears much smaller than the Earth, despite the sun being much larger? That's right. The sun's distance from the Earth is approximately 150 million kilometers away. That's equivalent to approximately 3,744 trips around the Earth!
The thermal pressure and degeneracy pressure, which keep the Sun's volume static against gravity, prevent visible light from traveling through it in the same way. 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.
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 even go near the sun, your body would rapidly disintegrate. Scary!
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.
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!
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 exactly what makes our sun so hot and bright!
Radiative Zone (2 million degrees Fahrenheit): This is the layer of the star that 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 is the thin and reddish layer 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 and ionized gas.
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 - ta-da! - our very own hot sun. Fascinating, isn't it?
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? That's right. The blue and green lights scatter away as the sun is setting!
Fun fact about the Earth: The Earth takes 1 day (24 hours) to make a full rotation.