The Sun is the center of our solar system. Without the Sun, no planets in our solar system would receive any energy. Also, the Sun's gravity keeps all the planets in orbit. Remember that the bigger an object is, the more gravity it has to pull on other objects. Without the large Sun all the planets including Earth would fly off into the Universe!
The Sun is Huge!
The Sun is the biggest object in our solar system. In fact you can fit over one million Earth's in the Sun! All the other planets in our solar system are also much much smaller than the Sun. Take a look at the brief video below where a N.A.S.A. scientist describes the size of our Sun.
How Does the Sun Produce its Energy and Light?
Like a cake can sometimes have layers, the Sun is made up of several layers. The layer we see is its surface called the photosphere. All the Sun's energy is created in its core by something called nuclear reactions. The Sun's core is over 27 million degrees Fahrenheit! It takes the energy made in the core one million years to reach Sun's surface (photosphere). So the light and heat you feel from the Sun today was created one million years ago in the Sun's core! The surface of the Sun (photosphere) is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a look at the photo below to get a better look at the sun and its layers.
What Type of Star is the Sun?
If you remember the beginning of our Unit, we said the Sun was one star of trillions in our Universe. Though our Sun is very important to us, every time you look in the night's sky you are looking at other stars in our Universe that are just like the Sun. In fact, some stars are even much larger than our Sun if you can believe that! Stars have a life just like a living organism. Stars are named by how old they are. Our Sun is called a yellow dwarf. Take a look at the life cycle of stars below. Our star would be an "average star" in the photo.
Take a look at the video below. It further explains everything we have talked about with the Sun. If you feel the video is too much information for you, you can stop watching after 2 minutes. However, if you enjoy learning about the Sun, you will enjoy the whole video!
Time to Share!
We have completed our first trip through our solar system to the Sun. As an astronaut, you must tell people on Earth what you have discovered about the Sun. Write a paragraph describing at least three characteristics about the Sun that you learned on your journey.