Facts about the Sun
The Sun is the nucleus of our Solar System. It accounts for almost 99.86 percent of the total mass of the Solar System. The Sun’s mass contains primarily of hydrogen and helium with small traces of heavier elements such as neon, carbon, oxygen, and iron. Due to its important role in helping sustain life on earth, the Sun is considered a deity and worshipped in several cultures. Scientists believe that the Sun was formed when matter collapsed under its own gravitational force around 4.6 billion years ago. Scientists believe that in about 5 billion years from now, the density of the Sun’s core will increase remarkably, triggering a chain of events that will make Earth uninhabitable. With a diameter of around 1.3 million kms and a mass that’s 330,000 times more than that of Earth, the Sun is one big ball of fire. Here are some more interesting facts about the celestial body.
1.More than a million Earths could fit inside the Sun: The Sun’s surface area is around 12,000 times more than that of Earth. It is estimated that around 960,000 Earths could fit inside the Sun. If, however, not even a single square inch is left unoccupied, this number could go up to 1,300,000.
2.The temperature in the inner part of the Sun could reach up to 15 million degree Celsius: Energy in the inner core of the Sun is generated by fusing 600 million tones of hydrogen every second. The Sun is constantly expanding and would have exploded a long time ago, however, its tremendous gravitational pull prevents that from happening.
3.The Sun has been generating solar winds for years: The Sun keeps on expelling hot plasma that originate in its layers into the Solar System. These solar winds can move at a speed of around 450 km per second. Natural phenomena such as The Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis are the result of solar winds interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere.
4.Light from the Sun takes less time to reach Earth as compared its own surface: Light from the Sun takes a little more than 8 minutes (8 min 20 secs to be precise) to reach the Earth’s surface. Interestingly, the same light takes anywhere between 10,000 years-170,000 to reach its own surface.
5.The Sun has already lived half its life: The Sun is around 4.5 billion years old and has lived half of its life. Scientists believe that around 5 billion years from now, the celestial body will start consuming inner planets, including Earth. From there on, the Sun will continue shrinking till it reaches the size of a tiny white dwarf.
6.The Sun’s magnetic field is not uniform throughout: The Sun’s overall magnetic field is around two times that of Earth, however, in some places on the Sun, the magnetic field can be up to 3,000 times more than that of Earth. The varying intensity of the magnetic field is due to the Sun’s differential rotation.
7. Parts of the Sun do not rotate at the same speed: Due to the sheer size of the celestial body, different parts of the Sun rotate at varying speeds. The equator takes around 25 days to complete a rotation. Regions at the poles complete one rotation in about 36 days, and the inner part takes around 27 days to complete one rotation.
8.The Sun is classified as a Yellow Dwarf: Though the Sun is white in color, it is classified as a Yellow Dwarf. We see only those colors of the Sun that are able to penetrate Earth’s atmosphere.
9.The Sun’s gravity binds the Solar System together: The Sun’s tremendous gravitational force keeps planets from flying away. Its gravitational force is 28 times more than that of earth at equator.
10.The Sun travels at the rate of 220km per second: Traveling at the speed of 220km per second, the Sun takes around 220-250 million years to complete an orbit of the center of the Milky Way.