The Sun is the epicenter of our universe, and the most important star in the sky (to us, at least). This great ball of fire is actually 99.8% the mass of the solar system. Famed science fiction author Isaac Asimov once wrote: “The universe consists of the Sun, Jupiter, and nothing.” While Asimov wasn’t quite on the money, we understand his point about the importance of the Sun, and the role it plays.
Without the Sun we could not have life on Earth, and everything would cease to exist in the way it does now. So what exactly is the Sun, how does it remain in the sky, and what else have we yet to find out about this fire-laden orb of energy? Well, here are some of the top facts we can guarantee you never knew about the Sun.
It’s ridiculously big
We know the Sun is huge and vast, but do you have any idea just how big it is? You probably didn’t know that it measures 860,000 miles in diameter, and it would be possible to fit the Earth 1.3 million times inside it! The Sun is 4.5 billion years old, and it is estimated that she will last another 6 billion or so years. And when the Sun finally does reach its climactic end, it will grow into a red giant, completely obliterating the Earth on its way to becoming a white dwarf.
Its temperature is weird
If we were to ask you the temperature of the Sun, you’d probably say “Hot,” and you wouldn’t be wrong. But, the actual temperature of the Sun, and the way that temperature varies and fluctuates is actually quite puzzling. In fact, it is estimated that the Sun’s core reaches temperatures beyond even our comprehension; 27,000,000°F to be precise. However, the weird part is that the surface is only around 10,000°F. But then, stranger still, the higher part of the Sun’s ‘halo’ or corona climbs again to around 3,500,000°F. Scientists have no explanation as to why this is, and it remains one of the great mysteries of the Sun.
The Sun has an atmosphere
Believe it or not, the Sun actually has an atmosphere, and the Earth is inside of it! You might recall having seen an eclipse, or footage of an eclipse, and noting a white, shimmering ring around the Sun when it’s blacked out. This halo is actually a part of the Sun’s atmosphere that you’re seeing, and it reaches farther than you would think. In fact, the atmosphere of the Sun actually reaches as far as Jupiter, making the Earth fall comfortably inside of it.
NASA have it in their sights
Having mastered the moon landings, and perfected space travel, NASA has a new project on the horizon, and it involves the Sun. 2018 is the year NASA plans to launch a probe into space to kiss the Sun. This has been years in the making, and the probe will travel the closest we have ever been to the Sun. This is exciting as it opens up so many more avenues of possibility for the future of exploration and space travel, and we could end up finding out a lot more about the Sun as a result.
The Sun is pretty amazing, and the more we discover about it, the more we can use its awesome power to our advantage. There are so many things we have yet to discover about the Sun, and the hope is that we will discover much more in the future. We hope that with these amazing facts you can count yourself as more informed about the Sun now.