Top 10 AMAZING Facts About The SUN
Is it getting hot in here, or is it just us? Maybe it’s our close proximity to the sun as we continue exploring the vastness of space for your educational entertainment! What exactly do we know about the big, glowing star in the sky? Check your solar knowledge against these top 10 scolding hot facts about the sun!
The End of the Sun
Like this video, all good things must come to an end. As we’ve touched, the lifespan of the Sun is no different, and it, too, will eventually die; and with it, all life on Earth will cease. During its lifetime, the Sun burns through hydrogen, fusing it into helium. Eventually, all of the hydrogen will dissipate, leaving nothing but helium to try and power the sun, which it is unable to do. The helium-based core will eventually start collapsing on itself, creating more pressure to heat and increase the size of the Sun until it is a Red Giant. When the process is complete, astronomers like Klaus-Peter Schroder and Robert Connon Smith believe the surface layers of the Sun will reach out over 108 million miles or 170 million kilometers, absorbing Mercury, Venus, and our pleasant slice of life for good.
Magnetism of the Sun
Many things have their own magnetic field, our planet included; but few are as powerful and instrumental as the magnetism of the Sun. Aside from creating beautiful solar flares for space programs to admire from afar, the Sun’s magnetic field is believed to directly affect weather across the solar system. Here on Earth, there has been a recorded correlation between the surface pressure of the atmosphere and changes within the Sun’s magnetic fields. When the Sun’s magnetic field reverses, which it does every 11 years, there is believed to be a ripple effect through the solar system, with changes in cosmic rays and space weather occurring, potentially causing solar storms and a change in Earth’s climate.
Satellites of the Sun
A satellite is described as an object that orbits around another object. You likely know our Moon to be a satellite of Earth and Phobos to be a satellite of Mars, but have you considered the satellites of the Sun? It may never have crossed your mind, but you are traveling on one of the Sun’s many satellites! Including Earth, the Sun is also orbited by our neighboring planets, Pluto included; the dwarf planet Ceres; and Halley’s Comet. Accompanying this group is also a considerable amount of asteroids, an estimated 750,000 to be exact, orbiting around the Sun in a band found between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars.
The Speed of Light
At a speed of 186,287 miles or 299,792 kilometers per second, you could say that light travels pretty fast. What does that mean for the relationship between Earth and the Sun, or the Sun and any other planet for that matter? Light emitted from the Sun takes approximately 8.3 minutes to travel the 1 Astronomical Unit, but there’s a peculiar fact about the light we’re getting after those 8.3 minutes – it’s estimated to be anywhere from 100,000 to 50 million years old by the time it reaches Earth. The light is produced within the Sun’s core, starting as gamma rays that collide with matter until it reaches the surface. There’s no direct measurement to how long that process takes, but it is known to be far more than a mere 8.3 minutes.
Your Life on the Sun
Imagine, for a moment, that you can live on the sun. Somehow, your body has adjusted to the skin-melting temperatures and you have yourself an adorable little abode overlooking the solar flares. What exactly would your life be like? For one thing, you’d probably have a hard time moving around! You see, a 135-pound or 61-kilogram man on Earth would weigh about 3,700 pounds or 1,678 kilograms on the Sun. The heaviest man ever, who weighed in at 1,400 pounds or 635 kilograms would feel the equivalent of a 37,900-pound or 17,191-kilogram person.
Age of the Sun
With Earth being about 4.5 billion years old, you would expect the glowing life force in space would probably be older, right? Well, the age of the planets really does depend on what school of thought you follow, but scientists actually theorize that the Sun is about the same age as Earth… and all of the other 8 planets out there. At approximately 4.5 billion years old, based on the 10-billion-year lifespan we mentioned in its classification, the sun should have another 5.5 billion years left.
We hear people from hotter parts of the world complaining about high temperatures and humidity, but little do they know just how good they actually have it. You see, the surface of the Sun is what some would call “unbearably hot”, with an average temperature of 9,949° F or 5,504° C. Move to the interior of this big glowing orb, and you’ll be faced with an average temperature of 27 million° F or 15 million° C.
The Sun’s Massive Size
It’s not just any glowing orb in the sky – it’s a massive glowing orb in the sky! Compared to our little slice of life, the Sun’s diameter is 856,658 miles or 1,378,657 kilometers larger than that of Earth's. That’s no small potatoes. In fact, the Sun’s volume is so large that approximately 1.3 million Earths could fit inside of it. When it comes to the mass of the entire solar system, the Sun makes up a whopping 99.8% of it, leaving a measly .2% for the rest of the formations to fill in.
Classifying the Sun
In space, everything has a classification. For instance, Earth is classified as a Terrestrial Planet, Jupiter as a Gas Giant, and Mercury as an Inferior Planet. Stars are no different, and when it comes to the Sun, you’re looking at a full spectral class of G2V. The G designates it as a main-sequence dwarf star that converts hydrogen to helium via nuclear fusion at its core. G-type stars are known to fuse hydrogen for roughly 10 billion years, at the end of which it will expand to a red giant. If anyone is left on Earth at the time that happens, they will be completely engulfed by the inferno.
Naming the Sun and Ancient Deities
Unlike most of the planets in our solar system, the Sun’s name is not derived from some Roman God. The word Sun is believed to stem from the Old English spelling of Sunne. It wasn’t always known as the Sun, though. Ancient Greece dubbed the flaming orb Helios, the son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia. In Ancient Rome, the Sun was known as Sol, Latin for Sun, and was attributed to the deities Sol and the less popular Sol Indiges. For Ancient Egyptians, the Sun took form as the God Ra, who was later merged with Horus to create Ra-Horakhty, or the god of the sky, Earth, and the underworld.