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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #10

Thirteen Facts About The Sun

1…. Our Sun is, in fact, merely a star. It looks so big and bright, and we feel its heat, because it is much closer to us than any other star. Without the Sun's heat, light and energy, the Earth would be a barren, lifeless lump of rock.

2.... The Sun is made up of hot gases, which contain many common Earth elements, such as hydrogen, helium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and iron.

3.... the Sun is about 1.4 million kilometers (900,000 miles) across, more than a hundred times the width of the Earth. If the Sun were a hollowed-out ball, about one million Earth-sized bodies could fit inside it.

4.... The Sun is 93 million miles away from Earth, roughly 150 million km.

5.... The Sun is around 4.5 billion years old, and is expected to remain pretty much as it is at the moment, for another 5 billion years or so. By that time, it will have expended all its hydrogen and will enter a new phase of existence. The Sun will then start to expend helium. As a result, it will expand to about 100 times its current size, becoming a red giant. Once it expends all its helium, it will collapse and become a white dwarf. Bye bye planet Earth!

6.... The Sun is a typical G2 star. G stars have a temperature of between 5000 to 6000 K. Their colour ranges from white to yellow.

7.... The light or photons emitted by the Sun cover a broad spectrum. There are very long wavelengths such as radio, as well as short wavelengths such as x-ray.

8.... Long term exposure to UV and x-rays is very dangerous, and can lead to skin cancer. Luckily, the Earth's atmosphere shields us from the more harmful of the Sun's photons. If it didn't, there would be little, if any, life on Earth.

9.... The Sun frequently experiences rapid magnetic field reconfigurations, during which large volumes of material will be ejected into interplanetary space. Such occurrences are known as Coronal Mass Ejections or CMEs. A large CME can spew a million tons of material towards the planets at up to a million miles an hour. If any of this material reaches Earth's outer atmosphere, it can affect satellites, knocking them out of orbit and damaging their surfaces. This, in turn, disrupts communications. This solar material can also disrupt power grids and cause power outages.

10... The Sun's brightness or total irradiance, fluctuates by a few tenths of a per cent over its 11 year solar cycle.

11... The Sun is, in fact, a giant, natural thermonuclear reactor. It converts hydrogen to helium in its core. The process produces the heat that we know as sunshine.

12... The reason the Sun hasn't exploded as a giant nuclear bomb, is because it is held together in an equilibrium state. Mutual gravitational attractions between all its atoms compress the solar centre. This both produces and contain the nuclear reactions taking place within the Sun. The solar atmosphere outside the energy producing core adjusts itself, so that the enormous amount of energy emerging from the Sun's surface, does so in the form of radiation, rather than a giant explosion.

13... Interaction between solar winds and Earth's geomagnetic field, causes energy particles (mainly electrons and protons) to enter Earth's upper atmosphere. These particles interact with nitrogen and oxygen molecules, which produce the red and green lights seen in phenomena such as the Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis.

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Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Very well done. Some I knew, but much I didn't. Excellent read on the sun. Have a great TT. :)

Natalie said...

I didn't know there was so much to know about the sun. Very interesting. I tend to try to stay out of the did get me with that pesky skin cancer stuff. Gah! After one painful surgery on my eye lid for a squamous cell carcinoma I decided I like staying out of the sun. LOL!

Possibly my worst, most unimaginative TT is up if you want to check it out. I was at a loss this week for what to write.

Anonymous said...

And it is the sun that has the greatest 'forcing' effect upon the Earth's climate, for better or for worse, whatever Al Gore says.

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Daisy said...

I learned a lot today! I am very glad that I will not be around when the sun collapses and becomes a white dwarf. So I can stop worrying.

Nicholas said...

That was very interesting. Another five billion years, eh! We should be ok!

OneLuvGurl said...

Wow! My hubby would love all those sun facts because he is an astronomy nut.

I tagged you for a blog tag. See my site for details!

shiera said...

Thanks for these... helped me review what I've learned from prep school til highschool. ^-^

Tiffany Aller said...

Sorry I didn't get here yesterday, but great list - interesting factoids! Happy Holidays!

MondaythroughSunday said...

Very informative..learned some new things about the sun. Merry Christmas!