The Sun is the star at the center of our Solar System. Here are some interesting facts about the Sun that you may not know!
Interesting Facts about the Sun
- The Sun is actually white but appears yellow of Earth due to the scattering of blue light in the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Light takes 8 minutes and 19 seconds to reach the Earth when the Earth is 149.6 million km (93 million miles) away from the Sun. This distance is the average distance from the Sun to the Earth.
- Plants use light energy from the sun to undergo photosynthesis. This produces energy (glucose) that animals and humans need to eat to survive.
- In some ancient cultures, the Sun was thought to be a god.
- The main elements found in the Sun are hydrogen (73.5%), helium (24.9%), oxygen (0.8%), carbon (0.3%), iron (0.16%), sulfur (0.12%) and neon (0.12%). There are also trace amounts of nitrogen, silicon and magnesium.
- The diameter of the Sun is 109 times that of to Earth and the mass of the Sun is an amazing 330,000 times that of the Earth.
- The Sun creates energy through nuclear fusion. In the hot core of the sun, hydrogen is converted into helium. This produces and amazing amount of energy. Scientists are hopeful that we can re-produce this reaction on the Earth to make enough energy to power the world.
- The Sun emits UV rays which are harmful to humans and animals. Thankfully, the ozone layer absorbs mosts of the UV rays. This stops them from coming to the Earth’s surface.
- The greenhouse effect is also related to the Sun. Infrared radiation released from the Sun is absorbed by the Earth’s surface and then re-radiated back to space. On the way up, greenhouse gases absorb the radiation. This traps heat in the Earth and causes warming. Without the greenhouse effect, the Earth would be very cold. It is believed that adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (such as carbon dioxide) is causing global warming.
- Sunspots are areas of the Sun that have lower temperatures than surrounding regions. They are easily seen when an appropriate filter is used.
- It is estimated that in a billion years the temperature of the Sun will be so hot that liquid water on the Earth will evaporate. This will end life on Earth.
Learn More About the Solar System