Culture and Myth about the Sun
1. Many ancient cultures worshiped the sun as a deity; from the Aboriginal Australians, to the Greeks, Native Americans and even the Egyptians.
2. A scientist and philosopher from Turkey called Anaxagoras was the first to suggest that the sun is a star, around 450 BC.
3. Our modern day calendar is based on the earth’s movement around the sun.
Facts about its age
4. It is 4.5 billion years old.
5. It is a relatively young star, part of a generation known as Population I.
6. It is about halfway through its lifetime.
Facts about its size
7. You can fit 1.3 million earths into it.
8. It is the largest object in the solar system.
9. Its mass is 333,000 times that of the earth.
10. It occupies about 99.86 percent of the total mass of the solar system.
Facts about the distance of Sun from Earth
11. It is closer to earth than all other stars.
12. It is 391 times as far away from earth as the moon.
13. Its distance from the earth changes at different points during the year.
14. It is 30,000 light years away from the center of The Milky Way.
15. Light from the sun takes eight minutes to reach the earth.
Facts about Solar System
16. The sun’s gravity anchors earth and all the other planets together in a small space called the solar system.
17. The sun is at the center of the solar system and all planets orbit around it.
18. If the sun weren’t there, the earth would travel in a straight line.
19. Its gravity is 28 times stronger than earth’s gravity.
20. The bubble that surrounds the sun and solar system is called the heliosphere.
21. Helioseismology is the study of the interior of the sun.
22. The sun is studied using many satellites, the main one being the SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory)
23. One million earths would make up 0.00033% of all the stars in the Milky Way.
Facts about Sun’s Energy
24. There are electric currents inside of it that generate a magnetic field which spreads throughout the solar system.
25. A geomagnetic storm is a worldwide disturbance of the earth’s magnetic field as a result of solar activity.
26. The sun produces energy that supports all life on earth through a process known as photosynthesis.
27. Its energy is produced from the fusion of hydrogen into helium.
28. Its temperature is approximately 5700 degrees Celsius.
29. Nuclear reactions occur within the core of the sun, due to its temperature and pressure.
30. It emits three different kinds of energy; infrared radiation, visible light, and ultraviolet light.
31. The ozone layer absorbs most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays which cause sun burns.
32. The suns UV rays also have antiseptic properties.
33. The process by which energy moves from the core of the sun to the earth is known as convection.
34. The heat and energy released from the core of the sun take a million years to reach its surface.
35. When magnetic energy that has been building up in the sun’s core is suddenly released, it causes a rapid variation in brightness known as a solar flare.
36. The amount of energy released during a flare is equivalent to a simultaneous explosion of millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs.
37. This explosion is ten million times greater than a volcanic eruption, but less than 1/10th of the total energy produced by the sun per second.
Facts about Sun’s appearance
38. The sun is actually a mixture of ALL colors, which appears to the eye as white.
39. It seems to be several different colors during the day due to a phenomenon known as atmospheric scattering.
40. A green flash is a short lived optical illusion that sometimes occurs at sunrise or sunset when the light from the sun is bent towards the viewer.
41. It is as bright as 4 trillion 100-watt light bulbs.
42. It is getting gradually brighter at a rate of 6% per billion years.
43. Partial solar eclipses are dangerous to the naked eye because our pupils are not accustomed to that level of contrast in light.
44. The sun is the closest thing to a perfect sphere that has been observed in nature.
45. Some parts of the sun are cooler than others and thus appear to be darker. They are called sunspots.
46. Sun spots have a very strong magnet field, which prevents the convection of energy, and thus accounts for their lower temperatures.
47. These magnetic fields spin like a tornado.
48. A typical sunspot consists of a dark spot in the middle called the umbra, and a lighter region known as the penumbra.
49. The solar maximum is a period of time during the solar cycle when the number of sunspots is at its highest.
50. Sunspot cycles are repeated every 11 years, and coincide with the occurrence of solar flares.
51. When the solar cycle is at a minimum, flares are rare because active regions are far between.
52. It travels at 20 kilometers per second relative to other stars, and 220 kilometers per second around the Milky Way.
53. Different parts of the sun rotate at different speeds, the fastest being at its equator.
54. It rotates from its axis approximately once every 26 days.
55. It completes a revolution around the entire galaxy once every 250 million years.
Facts about its composition
56. The sun is a ball of gas and has no solid surface.
57. Its composition is 74% Hydrogen, 25% Helium, and 1% other gases.
58. Helium is the second most abundant element both in the sun and in the universe, but very hard to find on earth.
59. It contains different layers with varying temperatures; the corona, photosphere, chromosphere, and the core.
60. The chromosphere contains spikes of gas called spicules.
61. It is visible as a flash of color at the starting and ending of total solar eclipses.
62. The photosphere is the opaque layer of gas that makes the sun appear to be solid.
63. It’s also responsible for emitting light, and is cooler than the outer most layer, the corona.
64. The photosphere is cool enough to permit the existence of water particles.
65. The corona releases a stream of charged particles referred to as solar wind.
Interesting facts about evolution and life cycle of the Sun
66. The sun is currently in its yellow dwarf stage.
67. It has enough nuclear fuel to stay as it is for 5 billion more years.
68. When its energy (hydrogen) burns out, it will expand into the red giant and consume nearby planets, possibly even earth.
69. Its outer layers will then collapse, and it will become the white dwarf.
70. In the end, it will become a dim and cool celestial body referred to as the black dwarf.