The Sun is a huge star at the center of our solar system. It gives us life on Earth and all planets orbit around it. It is millions of years old, made of a big ball of burning gas and provides the heat and light on our planet. Here are some facts about this star that is so important to us.
- The Sun is one of millions of stars in the solar system. It is however larger than most (although not the biggest) and a very special star to us. Without the Sun there would be absolutely no life on Earth.
- The Sun is 870,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) across. This is so big it is hard to imagine but it would take more than one million Earths to fill the size of the Sun!
- The Sun is so big it takes up 99% of the matter in our solar system. The 1% left over is taken up by planets, asteroids, moons and other matter.
- The Sun is about 4.5 billion years old. It is thought to be halfway through its life time. Stars get bigger as they get older.
- As the Sun ages it will get bigger. When this happens it will consume some of the things close to it, this includes Mercury, Venus and maybe even Earth and Mars. Luckily this is billions of years in the future.
- The Sun is the centre of the solar system.
- The Sun is 92.96 million miles (149.6 kilometers) away from Earth.
- The Sun is made of a ball of burning gases. These gases are 92.1% hydrogen and 7.8% helium.
- The sunlight we see on Earth left the Sun 8 minutes ago. This is the length of time it takes for the light to travel the distance between the Sun and the Earth.
- When the moon goes around the Earth it sometimes finds itself between the Earth and the Sun. This is called a solar eclipse and makes the Earth dark whilst the moon shuts out most of the Sun’s light. This only last for a couple of hours while the moon continues its rotation and moves out of the way of the sun.
- In ancient astronomy it was thought that the Sun moved. People believed that the Earth stayed still and the Sun rotated around it. About 2000 years ago some began to think it was the Sun that stays still whilst the planets make a path around it. This only became an accepted theory around the 1600s when Isaac Newton proposed the sun-centric solar system.
- The Sun is almost a perfect sphere. It is the closest thing to a sphere found in nature with only a 6.2 mile (10 kilometre) difference between its vertical and horizontal measurements.
- The Sun’s core is extremely hot! An unthinkable 13,600,000 degrees Celcius in fact!
- The Sun has a very big magnetic field. It is the most powerful magnetic field in the whole solar system. This field is regenerating itself but scientists are unsure how.
- The Sun produces solar winds. These are a stream of particles from the Sun that stream out into space. This is why planets atmospheres are so important. They protect the planet from these solar winds.
- The Sun rotates but not like Earth does. On Earth the planet is rotating at the same speed no matter where you are. The Sun does not rotate like a solid object and is actually spinning faster at its equator than it is at its poles. It is complicated to say how fast the Sun is spinning but depending where abouts on the Sun you are looking at it takes between 24 and 38 days to spin around.
- The Sun has been both worshipped and feared throughout history by a variety of cultures.