The sun—It’s big, it’s bright, it’s yellow, and it’s hot, sure.
But, there’s a lot more to know about the sun than just those basics.
Summer is inching closer, and so we prepared some fun sun facts to annoy your friends with when you’re at the beach together catching some rays.
Here are 10+ interesting facts about the sun:
The Sun is our star, located at the center of the Solar System.
A solar system consists of all the planets, moons, comets, asteroids, rocks, and other particles that exist in the region of or orbit one star. We call our solar system the Solar System, but other stars, of course, have orbiting and regional items, as well. These can sometimes be called planetary systems.
A galaxy, however, is essentially a group of solar systems, although that feels a bit understated to put it like that. Our galaxy, for instance, is the Milky Way Galaxy, and it consists of an estimated 100-400 BILLION stars (of which the Sun is but one)!!!
Though the Sun is at the center of our solar system, it is not at the center of the Milky Way. In fact, it is estimated that the Sun is about 25,000 lightyears away from the center of the Milky Way, known as the galactic core. The Milky Way is thought to have several (2-4) spiraling arms, and our Sun (and our solar system and Earth) is located on the inner rim of the Orion Arm.
The Sun is big. I mean it’s absolutely humongous.
Its diameter is about 109 times larger than the Earth’s diameter, which is to say about 865,000 miles (1.392 million km) across. The circumference of the Sun is 2.72 million miles (4.379 million km).
3. Mass & Volume
We told you how large the sun was, but let’s put that into more perspective.
The Sun’s volume = 1.4 x 1027 cubic meters. You could fit roughly 1.3 million Earths inside the Sun if you could squeeze all the space between out; if you left the Earth as a sphere, you could fit around 960,000 Earths inside the Sun.
The Sun’s mass = 1.989 x 1030 kg. This is about 330,000 times more than Earth’s mass. It is so massive, in fact, that the Sun accounts for 99.86% of the entire Solar System’s mass!
4. Distance from Earth
On average, the sun is about 93 million miles (150 million km) away from Earth. Since we (the Earth) don’t travel around the Sun in a perfect circle, but rather an elliptical orbit, we can get closer to and farther from the Sun than that. When we’re nearest the Sun, the Earth is only 91.4 million miles (147.1 million km) away. When we’re furthest from the Sun, the Earth is 94.5 million miles (152.1 million km) away.
The distance between the Earth and the Sun has become a standard measurement in space called an astronomical unit (AU). One AU is equal to about 92.956 million miles (149.6 million km).
The sun is so far away from Earth that light, which travels at around 186,000 miles per second (300,000 km per second) takes an average of 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach the Earth!
5. Energy & Power
Every second, through the process of nuclear fusion, the Sun converts about 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium. The byproduct of this is that around 4 million tons of matter is converted into energy each and every second!
The Sun is made up primarily of:
- 74.9% hydrogen
- 23.8% helium
- 1% oxygen
- 0.3% carbon
- 0.2% neon
- 0.2% iron
And then there are trace amounts of other elements, such as nitrogen, magnesium, and silicon.
7. Star Type
Technically speaking, the Sun is a G-type main-sequence star (G2V).
The “G” is the designation for our Sun’s spectral class, meaning the Sun’s color is somewhere from white to yellow and the approximate surface temperature is anywhere from 5,000-6,000 K. The “2” is from a scale of G0V to G9V, and it indicates mass, surface gravity, and the color index. Finally, the “V” refers to it being a main sequence star (dwarf star).
Our sun is commonly known as a yellow dwarf star.
The Earth orbits the Sun, as you know, taking roughly one year for a complete orbit. However, the Sun also moves around, as well.
Since the Sun is far from the center of the Milky Way, the Sun takes around 230 million years to make a complete orbit around our galaxy. This translates to an effective speed of the Sun being about 136.7 miles (220 km) per second.
The Sun is about 4.6 billion years old, give or take.
Scientists believe that a solar nebula, which is a massive cloud of space debris and gas which constantly swirls and spins, collapsed in on itself due to its extreme gravity.
At its surface, the Sun’s temperature is around 10,000 °F (5,500 °C). And if you think that’s hot, wait till you hear about the middle: at the Sun’s core, the temperature is estimated to be around 27 million °F (15.5 million °C)!
11. Unicode Symbol
The Sun has its own Unicode symbol – ☉
The actual code is U+2609, and it represents the astronomical and astrological symbol of our Sun.
Well, that’s all our sun facts for now, and we hope it’s given you a better understanding of the star at the center of our solar system! Got any questions, feedback, or other facts about the Sun you think we ought to include? Let us know in the comments below, and thank you for stopping by!
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