The Sun

The Sun(Latin:Sol)is the largest object in the solar system. Also,the sun is in the center of the Solar System.It can hold up to millions of planets in its body.The surface of the Sun consists of hydrogen (about 74% of its mass, or 92% of its volume), helium (about 24% of mass, 7% of volume), and trace quantities of other elements, including iron, nickel, oxygen, silicon, sulfur, magnesium, carbon, neon, calcium, and chromium. The Sun has a spectral class of G2V. G2 means that it has a surface temperature of approximately 5,780 K, giving it a white color that often, because of atmospheric scattering, appears yellow when seen from the surface of the Earth. This is a subtractive effect, as the preferential scattering of shorter wavelength light removes enough violet and blue light, leaving a range of frequencies that is perceived by the human eye as yellow. It is this scattering of light at the blue end of the spectrum that gives the surrounding sky its color. When the Sun is low in the sky, even more light is scattered so that the Sun appears orange or even red.

The Sun's spectrum contains lines of ionized and neutral metals as well as very weak hydrogen lines. The V (Roman five) in the spectral class indicates that the Sun, like most stars, is a main sequence star. This means that it generates its energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium. There are more than 100 million G2 class stars in our galaxy. Once regarded as a small and relatively insignificant star, the Sun is now known to be brighter than 85% of the stars in the galaxy, most of which are red dwarfs.

The Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way galaxy at a distance of approximately 26 000 or 27 000 light-years from the galactic center, moving generally in the direction of Cygnus and completing one revolution in about 225–250 million years. Its orbital speed was thought to be 220 ± 20 km/s, but a new estimate gives 251 km/s. This is equivalent to about one light-year every 1,190 years, and about one AU every 7 days. These measurements of galactic distance and speed are as accurate as we can get given our current knowledge, but may change as we learn more. Since our galaxy is moving with respect to the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) in the direction of Hydra with a speed of 550 km/s, the sun's resultant velocity with respect to the CMB is about 370 km/s in the direction of Crater or Leo.

The Sun is currently traveling through the Local Interstellar Cloud in the low-density Local Bubble zone of diffuse high-temperature gas, in the inner rim of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, between the larger Perseus and Sagittarius arms of the galaxy. Of the 50 nearest stellar systems within 17 light-years (1.6×1014 km) from the Earth, the Sun ranks 4th in absolute magnitude as a fourth magnitude star (M=4.83).


The Sun is a Population I, or heavy element-rich, star. The formation of the Sun may have been triggered by shockwaves from one or more nearby supernovae. This is suggested by a high abundance of heavy elements such as gold and uranium in the Solar System relative to the abundances of these elements in so-called Population II (heavy element-poor) stars. These elements could most plausibly have been produced by endergonic nuclear reactions during a supernova, or by transmutation via neutron absorption inside a massive second-generation star.

Sunlight is Earth's primary source of energy. The solar constant is the amount of power that the Sun deposits per unit area that is directly exposed to sunlight. The solar constant is equal to approximately 1370 watts per square meter at a distance of one AU from the Sun (that is, on or near Earth). Sunlight on the surface of Earth is attenuated by the Earth's atmosphere so that less power arrives at the surface—closer to 1000 watts per directly exposed square meter in clear conditions when the Sun is near the zenith. This energy can be harnessed via a variety of natural and synthetic processes—photosynthesis by plants captures the energy of sunlight and converts it to chemical form (oxygen and reduced carbon compounds), while direct heating or electrical conversion by solar cells are used by solar power equipment to generate electricity or to do other useful work. The energy stored in petroleum and other fossil fuels was originally converted from sunlight by photosynthesis in the distant past.

Ultraviolet light from the Sun has antiseptic properties and can be used to sanitize tools and water. It also causes sunburn, and has other medical effects such as the production of Vitamin D. Ultraviolet light is strongly attenuated by Earth's ozone layer, so that the amount of UV varies greatly with latitude and has been partially responsible for many biological adaptations, including variations in human skin color in different regions of the globe.

Observed from Earth, the Sun's path across the sky varies throughout the year. The shape described by the Sun's position, considered at the same time each day for a complete year, is called the analemma and resembles a figure 8 aligned along a north/south axis. While the most obvious variation in the Sun's apparent position through the year is a north/south swing over 47 degrees of angle (because of the 23.5-degree tilt of the Earth with respect to the Sun), there is an east/west component as well, caused by the acceleration of the Earth as it approaches its perihelion with the Sun, and the reduction in the Earth's speed as it moves away to approach its aphelion. The north/south swing in apparent angle is the main source of seasons on Earth.

A rare optical phenomenon may occur shortly after sunset or before sunrise, known as a green flash. The flash is caused by light from the sun just below the horizon being bent (usually through a temperature inversion) towards the observer. Light of shorter wavelengths (violet, blue, green) is bent more than that of longer wavelengths (yellow, orange, red) but the violet and blue light is scattered more, leaving light that is perceived as green.

The Sun is a magnetically active star. It supports a strong, changing magnetic field that varies year-to-year and reverses direction about every eleven years around solar maximum. The Sun's magnetic field gives rise to many effects that are collectively called solar activity, including sunspots on the surface of the Sun, solar flares, and variations in solar wind that carry material through the Solar System. Effects of solar activity on Earth include auroras at moderate to high latitudes, and the disruption of radio communications and electric power. Solar activity is thought to have played a large role in the formation and evolution of the Solar System. Solar activity changes the structure of Earth's outer atmosphere.

Although it is the nearest star to Earth and has been intensively studied by scientists, many questions about the Sun remain unanswered. Current topics of scientific inquiry include the Sun's regular cycle of sunspot activity, the physics and origin of flares and prominences, the magnetic interaction between the chromosphere and the corona, and the origin (propulsion source) of solar wind.

Location Within The GalaxyEdit

The Sun lies close to the inner rim of the Milky Way Galaxy's Orion Arm, in the Local Fluff or the Gould Belt, at a hypothesized distance of 7.62 ± 0.32 kpc from the Galactic Center. The distance between the local arm and the next arm out, the Perseus Arm, is about 6 500 light-years. The Sun, and thus the Solar System, is found in what scientists call the galactic habitable zone.

The Apex of the Sun's Way, or the solar apex, is the direction that the Sun travels through space in the Milky Way. The general direction of the Sun's galactic motion is towards the star Vega near the constellation of Hercules, at an angle of roughly 60 sky degrees to the direction of the Galactic Center. The Sun's orbit around the Galaxy is expected to be roughly elliptical with the addition of perturbations due to the galactic spiral arms and non-uniform mass distributions. In addition the Sun oscillates up and down relative to the galactic plane approximately 2.7 times per orbit. This is very similar to how a simple harmonic oscillator works with no drag force (damping) term. It has been argued that the Sun's passage through the higher density spiral arms often coincides with mass extinctions on Earth, perhaps due to increased impact events.

It takes the Solar System about 225–250 million years to complete one orbit of the galaxy (a galactic year), so it is thought to have completed 20–25 orbits during the lifetime of the Sun and 1/1250th of a revolution since the origin of humans. The orbital speed of the Solar System about the center of the Galaxy is approximately 220 km/s. At this speed, it takes around 1400 years for the Solar System to travel a distance of 1 light-year, or 8 days to travel 1 AU.

Life CycleEdit

The Sun's current main sequence age, determined using computer models of stellar evolution and nucleocosmochronology, is thought to be about 4.57 billion years.

It is thought that about 4.59 billion years ago, the rapid collapse of a hydrogen molecular cloud led to the formation of a third generation T Tauri Population I star, the Sun. The nascent star assumed a nearly circular orbit about 26 000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Sun is about halfway through its main-sequence evolution, during which nuclear fusion reactions in its core fuse hydrogen into helium. Each second, more than 4 million tonnes of matter are converted into energy within the Sun's core, producing neutrinos and solar radiation; at this rate, the Sun will have so far converted around 100 Earth-masses of matter into energy. The Sun will spend a total of approximately 10 billion years as a main sequence star.

The Sun does not have enough mass to explode as a supernova. Instead, in about 5 billion years, it will enter a red giant phase, its outer layers expanding as the hydrogen fuel in the core is consumed and the core contracts and heats up. Helium fusion will begin when the core temperature reaches around 100 million kelvin and will produce carbon, entering the asymptotic giant branch phase.

Life-cycle of the Sun; sizes are not drawn to scale.Earth's fate is unclear. As a red giant, the Sun will have a maximum radius beyond the Earth's current orbit, 1 AU (1.5×1011 m), 250 times the present radius of the Sun. However, by the time it is an asymptotic giant branch star, the Sun will have lost roughly 30% of its present mass due to a stellar wind, so the orbits of the planets will move outward. If it were only for this, Earth would probably be spared, but new research suggests that Earth will be swallowed by the Sun owing to tidal interactions.[31] Even if Earth escapes incineration in the Sun, its water will be boiled away and most of its atmosphere would escape into space. In fact, even during its life in the main sequence, the Sun is gradually becoming more luminous (about 10% every 1 billion years), and its surface temperature is slowly rising. The increase in solar temperatures is such that in about a billion years, the surface of the Earth will become too hot for liquid water to exist, ending all terrestrial life. Following the red giant phase, intense thermal pulsations will cause the Sun to throw off its outer layers, forming a planetary nebula. The only object that will remain after the outer layers are ejected is the extremely hot stellar core, which will slowly cool and fade as a white dwarf over many billions of years. This stellar evolution scenario is typical of low- to medium-mass stars

trivia Edit

  • People used to think that the sun orbited around the earth, instead of earth around sun.
  • It is never safe to look at the sun, even during a solar eclipse.

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