Friday, October 21, 2011

50 Interesting and Amazing Facts About the Sun

The sun is the most important object in our solar system. Here are some fascinating and interesting facts about this heavenly object.

1.) The Sun is the closest star to Earth. It is located at the center of the Solar System.

2.) This huge mass of hot, glowing gas has strong gravitational pull that holds Earth and the other planets in the solar system in orbit.

3.) The light of the Sun and its heat influence all of the objects in the solar system and allow life to exist on Earth. Without the sun, there is no life.

4.) The Sun is an average star. It is one of the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way with medium range in size, age, and temperature.

5.) Milky Way, which contains about 400 billions of stars, is just one of more than 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe.  

6.) The beautiful and useful Sun is 4.6 billion years of age and will continuously shine for the next 7 billion years.

7.) Beautiful as it is, the sun is also harmful to humans. It can cause skin cancer and can damage the eyes when directly look at even with sunglasses or during an eclipse.

8.) The Sun is large and massive object with a radius of 695,508 km which is 109 times as large as Earth’s radius.

9.) A million Earths could fit inside the Sun if it is a hollow.

10.) The Sun has a mass of 1.989 x 1027 metric tons or 1,989,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That is 1,989 followed by 24 zeroes.

11.) The Sun’s average density is only 1.409 g/cu cm, which is a quarter of the average density of Earth.

12.) The Sun is 333,000 times as large as our Earth.

13.) The Sun generates 3.83 x 1026 watts of power in the form of light. In comparison, an incandescent lamp emits 60 to 100 watts of power.

14.) The temperature of the outer, visible part of the Sun is 5500°C.

15.) The average distance of the Sun from the Earth is 150 million km. The distance is so great that the Sun appears small when viewed from the planet.

16.) Due to the huge distance, it takes 8 minutes for the light from the Sun to reach Earth.

17.) Proxima Centauri is the Sun’s nearest stellar neighbor. It is 4.3 light-years from our solar system, meaning light from Proxima Centauri takes 4.3 years to reach the Sun.

18.) This great distance between the Sun and Proxima Centauri is equivalent to 30 trillion kilometers which is impossible for humans to reach.

19.) The Sun is so much closer to Earth than all other stars are that the intense light of the Sun keeps us from seeing any other stars during the day.

20.) The Sun is a second-generation star, meaning that some of its material came from former stars.

21.) Some stars in our galaxy are nearly as old as the expanding universe which is about 14 billion years old.

22.) The main ingredient of the Sun is hydrogen. It also contains heavier elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen.

23.) The Sun is located in the outer part of the Milky Way galaxy, at a distance of 2.6 x 1017 km from the center.

24.) The Sun moves with great speed around the center at a velocity of 220 km/s, takes 250 million years to complete one trip around the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

25.) The Sun has circled the Milky Way galaxy more than 18 times during its 4.6-billion-year lifetime.

26.) The largest accurately determined stellar mass is of a star called V382 Cygni. This gigantic star is 27 times that of the Sun.

27.) The apparent magnitude of the Sun is -26.72. The apparent magnitude of the brightest star in Earth’s night sky, Sirius, is -1.46. Stars with negative magnitudes are the brightest of all.
28.) The Sun’s absolute luminosity is 3.86 x 1026 watts.

29.) After 3 billion years from now, the Sun will be hot enough to boil Earth’s oceans away.
30.) Four billion years thereafter, the Sun will have used up all its hydrogen and will balloon into a giant star that engulfs the planet Mercury.
31.) After 7 billion years from now, the Sun will be a red giant star. It will then be 2,000 times brighter than it is now, and hot enough to melt Earth’s rocks.
32.)  At this time the outer solar system will get warmer and more habitable. The icy moons of the giant planets may warm enough to be covered by water instead of ice.
33.) About 8 billion years from now, the Sun will become a white dwarf star and after it becomes a white dwarf, it will cool slowly for billions of years, eventually becoming so cool that it will no longer emit light.

34.) In just one second the Sun emits more energy than humans have used in the last 10,000 years.

35.) The visible part of the Sun is called the photosphere.

36.) The Earth and the Sun both rotates from west to east when viewed from above the North Pole, but unlike Earth, different parts of the Sun rotate at different rates

37.) A spot at the Sun’s equator takes 25 days to rotate completely, while a spot 15° from the poles takes 34 days to make a complete rotation.

38.) Sunlight appears yellowish, but it is actually a combination of a rainbow of colors.

39.) Red has the longest wavelength of visible light, and violet has the shortest.

40.) The corona is the very hot layer of the solar atmosphere above the chromospheres

41.) The chromosphere and photosphere are closer to the Sun’s core than is the corona, but the corona is several hundred times hotter than the chromosphere and photosphere.

42.) The chromosphere is a thin layer about 2,000 to 3,000 km (about 1,200 to 1,900 mi) thick, just above the visible photosphere.

43.) The biggest sunspots exceed Earth in size and are easily visible with a telescope. Sunspots rotate with the Sun and change in size and shape. They come and go, with lifetimes lasting from hours to months.

44.) The Greek philosopher Aristotle was the first known person to use a device that allowed indirect observation of the Sun.

45.) Galileo was the first person to use telescope in conducting observation of the Sun.

46.) During a total solar eclipse, the solar corona can be seen with the naked eye, during the brief period of totality.

47.) A solar eclipse as viewed on Earth occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth.

48.) There are two types of solar eclipse – partial and total. The next partial eclipse will occur on November 25, 2011 and the last partial eclipse was on July 1, 2011.

49. The last full solar eclipse occurred on July 11, 2010 and the next total eclipse will be on November 13, 2012.

50.)  Solar eclipses can occur up to 5 times per year and since 1582, the years 1693, 1758, 1805, 1823, 1870, and 1935 have had five solar eclipses. The next occurrence will be 2206.

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