Without the Sun’s energy, life as we know it would not exist on Earth.
The Sun is a 4.5 billion year old yellow dwarf star. It’s the massive, hot glowing ball of hydrogen and helium at the center of our solar system.
Its gravity keeps the solar system together, holding everything from the biggest planets to the tiniest bits of debris in orbit around it.
By studying our own Sun, scientists can also better understand the workings of distant stars. Let’s learn some facts about the Sun.
Facts About The Sun
What Are Some Key Facts About The Sun?
The science of studying the Sun and its influence on the solar system is called heliophysics.
The Sun is located at the center of the Solar System. It is an almost perfect sphere of hot plasma. Essentially, it’s a hot ball of glowing gases.
It’s the most important source of energy for life on Earth. The Sun has a diameter of around 1.39 million kilometers or 864,000 miles.
It’s about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from Earth and it’s our solar system’s only star.
How Big Is The Sun?
It goes without saying that the Sun is the largest object in our solar system. Its diameter is about 865,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers).
Even though the Sun is the center of our solar system and essential to our survival, it’s only an average star in terms of its size.
There have been stars up to 100 times larger that have been have found. And some solar systems can also have more than one star.
What Is Unique About Our Sun?
Despite its importance in the grand scheme of things, the sun isn’t particularly unique. It’s about average in size and middle-aged compared to the other billions of stars in our galaxy.
And although the sun accounts for 99.8 percent of the total mass of the solar system, it’s really just basically a big ball of gas.
Who Named The Sun?
The word sun comes from the Old English word sunne, which itself comes from the older Proto Germanic language’s word sunnōn.
In ancient times, the Sun was widely seen as a god, and the name for Sun was the name of that god.
Ancient Greeks called the Sun Helios, and the word is still used to describe the Sun today.
Helios was replaced with the Latin name Sol during the reign of the Roman Empire. Just like Helios, Sol is also a term that’s still used to describe the Sun. (Source: www.spacecentre.nz)
How Old Is The Sun?
The Sun is 4,500,000,000 years old. That’s four and a half billion. (Source: www.spaceplace.nasa.gov)
How Was The Sun Born?
The Sun formed about 4.5 billion years ago in a massive, spinning cloud of gas and dust called the solar nebula.
How Can The Sun Affect Our Mood?
Exposure to sunlight is believed to increase the brain’s release of the hormone serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping us feel calm and focused.
At night, the darker lighting triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin which helps you sleep. (Source: www.healthline.com)
Does Sunlight Actually Give You Vitamin D?
Our bodies make vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin. The process by which the body makes vitamin D is complex. We can also get the vitamin from food, or by taking a supplement.
How Long Does It Take Sunlight To Reach Earth?
As the Sun is 93 million miles away, sunlight actually takes about 8 minutes to get to us. It means that when you look at the Sun, we see it as it was 8 minutes ago. (Source: www.pbs.org)
From our viewpoint from Earth, the Sun may appear like an unchanging source of light and heat in the sky.
Yet the Sun is actually a dynamic star, constantly changing and sending energy out into space.
Getting enough sunlight can help our mood and make us feel happier and energized. We also get vitamin D when sunlight hits our skin.
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