Compared our sun with the billions of other stars in the universe, and it’s unremarkable. But for our planet and the other planets that revolve around it, the sun is the center of attention. It holds the solar system together, and gives us light, heat, and energy.
The sun is actually a big star. About 864,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) wide, it could hold about 109 of the planet Earths across its massive surface. If the sun were a hollow it would take more than a million Earths could fill the inside of it. But the sun is believed to be filled with scorching hot gases that account for more than 99.8 percent of the total mass in our solar system.
The temperature is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Celsius) on the surface and estimated to be more than 28 million degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 million Celsius) at the core.
The area of the sun is divided into three regions: the chromosphere, the photosphere, and the solar corona. The photosphere is the visible surface of the sun and the closest part of the atmosphere to the suface. Just above the photosphere is the chromosphere and the corona, which also emit visible light but can only be seen during a solar eclipse.
Solar Wind and Flares
The sun also produces heat and a stream of charged particles called the solar wind. The wind blows about 280 miles (450 kilometers) a second through our solar system. Every so often, a patch of particles will burst from the sun in a solar flare, which can disrupt satellite communications her on Earth. Flares usually begin from sunspots, cool regions of the photosphere related to a shifting magnetic field inside the sun.
The sun is not live forever, it is already about 4.5 billion years old and has used up nearly half of the hydrogen in its core. The sun will continue to burn through the hydrogen for about another five billion years, then it’s beleived helium will become its primary fuel. The sun will then expand to about a hundred times its current size, swallowing up Earth and other planets. It will then burn as a red giant for another billion years and then collapsing into a white dwarf about the size of planet Earth.
18 Feb, 2015
by cnkguy with 1 comment.