Sun, the only source of solar and heat energy has been worshipped as a significant deity from ancient ages. It has various names in different cultures; ancient Greeks named it ‘Helios’ while the Romans entitled it as ‘Sol’. Several mythical tales too run parallel with its existence comprising those of the Aztecs of Mexico, the Chinese, Native American tribes of North America and Canada and the prehistoric Egyptians. Considering all this, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that since the ancient times, it has been the source to which life has clung on to, and has evolved. Considered as a source of liveliness and positive energy, this massive ball made of burning gases looks spellbinding with its enduring shine and magnificence. It seems, as if the great heavenly body is keeping an eye on the entire solar system, including the Earth and the life within. Undoubtedly, it is the most prominent figure which holds the entire solar system and is also an important reason for the survival of life on the Earth. Read to know some interesting facts about Sun.
Distance From Earth: 149,597,891 km
Mean Radius: 695,508 km
Mean Circumference: 4,370,005.6 km
Volume: 1,409,272,569,059,860,000 km3
Mass: 1.98892 × 1030 kg
Density: 1.409 g/cm 3
Surface Area: 6,078,747,774,547 km2
Surface Gravity: 274.0 m/s2
Escape Velocity: 2,223,720 km/h
Length of Day: 25.38 Earth days
Equatorial Inclination to Orbit: 7.25 relating to the ecliptic
Average Temperature: 5504°C
Age: 4.6 Billion Years
Rotation Period at Equator: 26.8 days
Rotation Period at Poles: 36 days
Velocity Relative to Near Stars: 19.7 km/s
Luminosity: 3.83×10 33 ergs/sec
Solar Constant (Total Solar Irradiance): 1.365 – 1.369 kW/m2
Interesting And Fun Facts About Sun
- The Sun is the closest star to our planet Earth and has the capacity to fit around one million earths inside it.
- The Sun is supported altogether by gravitational attention, generating enormous pressure and temperature at its core.
- The Sun is filled with scorching hot gases with a total of 92.1% of Hydrogen and 7.8% of Helium.
- The Sun has six different regions: the core, the radiative zone, and the convective zone in the inner part, and the photosphere, the chromosphere and the solar corona in the outer part.
- Photosphere is the lowest layer of its atmosphere and has a temperature of nearly about 5,500°C. It is a 500 km thick layer through which the Sun’s rays escape and reach the Earth in the form of sunlight which is observed nearly about 8 minutes after they leave from the source.
- On photosphere, a sunspot can be observed which in appearance, is sort of a scar on the surface and is caused due to the strong magnetic activity which hampers convection.
- Amazingly, the temperature of a sunspot is cooler in comparison to its surroundings, which is the reason of its dark appearance.
- Generally, sunspots take place in groups or pairs. The number of sunspots varies every 11 years because of the magnetic activity cycle of the Sun. In addition to this, bright solar flares and massive coronal mass ejections which blast off from the Sun are also associated with this cycle.
- All the life on Earth is supported by Sun and the link and the exchanges between the Sun and Earth is the leading cause of the ocean currents, seasons, climates and the weather.
- Deep inside the core of the Sun, nuclear fusion reactions transform hydrogen to helium which produces energy. Photons, the light particles transmit this energy through the spherical shell of the Sun known as the radiative zone to the zenith of the solar interior, which is called as the convection zone. At this place, boiling activity of gases transfer the energy to the surface and this journey of carrying the energy takes more than a million years.
- Besides giving light, the Sun also radiates heat and a sturdy flow of charged particles termed as the solar wind. The solar wind blows at about 450 km per second throughout the solar system.
- The basis of the coronal heating has been a mystery for scientists for more than 50 years. It is now considered that this magnetic field is perhaps the source of the immense heat produced at the corona.
- At the core, the temperature is nearly about 15 million°C which is enough to uphold a thermonuclear fusion. The energy generated in the core energises the Sun and produces effectively, the entire heat and light which we receive on Earth. The energy from the core is taken outward by radiation which springs round the radiative zone, taking nearly about 170,000 years to get from the core to the connective zone. In the connective zone, the temperature goes down below 2 million°C, where big bubbles of hot plasma go upwards.
- Greek scholar Claudius Ptolemy wrote the Almagest in 150 AD, validating the Earth-centred model of the Solar System. Till the 16th century, this model was accepted.
- In 1610, Galileo Galilei and Thomas Harriot observed sunspots for the first time with the help of telescope.
- The activity of sunspot went down to almost zero, probably causing a Little Ice Age on Earth from 1645 to 1715.
- The Eclipse observers in 1860 saw an enormous burst of material from the Sun and it was the first recorded coronal mass ejection.
- In 1994, the Ulysses spacecraft made the first observations of the polar regions of the Sun.
- The Genesis spacecraft of NASA brought back the samples of the solar wind to the Earth for the examination in 2004.
- The double-spacecraft Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) mission in 2007 came back with the first three-dimensional images of Sun.
- In 2009, after more than 18 years, the Ulysses mission came to an end. It was the foremost and the only spacecraft to study the Sun at high solar latitudes.
- The Sun is nearly about 4.5 billion years old and has already consumed about half of the hydrogen in its core. Therefore, it will continue to flame through the hydrogen for another five billion years and then helium will take the place of hydrogen, becoming its main fuel.
- Later on, it will enlarge to more than a hundred times its present size, ingesting the Earth and the other planets of the solar system. And at last, it will end into a white dwarf, just about the size of Earth.