The Sun – A Comprehensive Overview
The Sun. The Sun is at the center of the solar system. Which is a system surrounding the sun. Solar, having to do with the sun. It is composed of 70% Hydrogen, 28% Helium, and 2% various metals. There are a small percentage of metals that make up parts of the sun. Now, the sun is one of about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Stars are basically just balls of burning gas. Hydrogen and Helium being the primary gases of the sun.
Since it’s a ball of burning gas, it’s going to have some high temperatures. Now, its diameter is about 1,390,000 kilometers. To give you some perspective, that’s about a 109 times Earth’s diameter. If you lined up 109 Earth’s in a row, that would be about the diameter of the sun. Which means, if you stretched it out it would be that far apart and go all the way around that distance each time.
The sun is really, really, big. It doesn’t look that big from us, from where we are, but that’s because we’re very far away from it. Because it is such a large star and it is the closest one to us, we are able to see it and we do benefit from some of its effects. The mass of the sun is around 1.989 times 10 to the 30th kilograms. That means, if we put these three numbers and then 27 zeros behind it, that would tell you how many kilograms the sun has for mass.
Which is, to give you perspective again, about 330,000 times Earth’s mass. The sun represents over 99.8 % of the total mass of the solar system. Within the solar system, this is 330 times the mass of Earth, since it was a 109 Earth’s, and then you keep multiplying that exponentially whenever you’re figuring out the mass because it’s not, it’s 109 Earth’s in a row, but not a 109 Earth’s volume wise. It’s 330 times Earth’s mass.
Because the sun is so big within the solar system, the sun is 99.8% of the total mass of the solar system. Whenever you’re thinking about how big earth is and the other planets in relation to those planets, in relation to Earth, the Sun is huge. It’s taking up the vast majority of the mass, or it makes up the vast majority of the mass, in the solar system. The sun’s surface temperature.
Remember we talked about really high temperatures because this is basically just a huge ball of burning gas. The sun’s surface temperature is around 5,800 Kelvin, and the core temperature reaches 15.6 million Kelvin. The very center is very, very, very, hot. Even on the surface it’s still 5,800 Kelvin, which is really hot. At the core, the density is more than 150 times the density of water.
We compare densities to the density of water here whenever we’re getting specific gravity and things like that. As a basis, the density of water, think about that, it’s a hundred and fifty times as dense as water at the center, at the core, of the sun because it’s a very dense area and it’s a very hot area. Now, let’s talk about different parts of the sun and what are called.
The surface of the sun is called the Photosphere, so that would be like its outermost layer. The Photosphere. Then, beyond the Photosphere, which is the surface of the sun, we have the Chromosphere, and the Chromosphere lies above the Photosphere. It’s like another really hot region, but it’s not actually a part of the sun. Where the photosphere is the surface, the Chromosphere is the area right around the surface.
Kind of thinking about like the atmosphere surrounding the Earth. It’s not a part of the Earth but it surrounds it and the Chromosphere kind of surrounds the sun in the same way. Next, we have the Corona. The Corona extends millions of miles into space after the Chromosphere. You’ve got the Photosphere, and then you’ve got the Chromosphere kind of surrounding the surface of the sun, and then you have the Corona just expanding into space, and temperatures can reach over a million degrees Kelvin in the corona.
Even though the surface is only 5,800 Kelvin, as it expands outward the Corona is taking on more of that heat coming off the sun and could reach up to a million Kelvin. Then you’ve got Sunspots, which are relatively cool regions on the surface of the sun, with temperatures around 3,800 Kelvin. That’s about 2000 Kelvin cooler than the average surface of the sun.
These are relatively cooler spots, and these can be seen as darker spots, whenever astronomers are studying the Sun. Finally, the Heliosphere. It kind of required several description. First, think of the Heliosphere like a bubble surrounding the sun with the sun near its center. The heliosphere expands outward, it’s basically the area affected by the sun’s particles, which are carried on solar winds.
As the sun is heating up, it projects particles out and they’re carried on solar winds, and as far as those particles go, that’s the Heliosphere. The Heliosphere is as far as the sun’s particles are going, as far out as the sun’s effects are being felt. That area extends far beyond Pluto. That is the Heliosphere. Everything affected by the sun, basically a big bubble, that branches out from the sun with the sun near its center.
The sun is at the center of the Heliosphere, but it’s also the center of the solar system. It’s what all the planets in the solar system are revolving around, and it’s made up of the gases hydrogen, helium, primarily hydrogen, with a few various metals. But, since stars are going to be giant balls of gas burning, primarily hydrogen and helium.
It is a really big star in the Milky Way Galaxy, but it is also the star closest to Earth which makes it so bright for us, and it represents over 99.8% of The total mass in the solar system. It is really big in comparison to everything else in the solar system. You think Earth’s big, you think the other planets near us are big, the sun is way bigger than all of that. It’s making up over 99%, 99.8%, of the mass.
Everything else is just .2% of the solar system. The sun is really big, a really big star, that is at the center of the solar system and also at the center of the Heliosphere. The heliosphere being everything the sun affects, the whole bubble, expanding outward from the sun.