15 Interesting Facts about the Sun

October 27, 2010, by Ken Jorgustin

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sun-width-109-earth-diameters

As interest heightens while we approach the next 11-year solar cycle maximum during 2012 – 2013,

Interesting facts about the sun

 

    • The sun has three layers,
      • Radiative Zone (innermost layer of nuclear fusion)
      • Convective Zone (where the heat moves slowly from the inner layer to the surface)
      • Photosphere (the layer that we can see)

layers-of-the-sun

    • The sun is a big ball of  gas, 74 percent hydrogen and 24 percent helium.
    • At the sun’s core, nuclear fusion burns about 600 million tons of hydrogen every second, resulting in 596 million tons of helium and 4 million tons of energy.

sun-fusion-converts-hydrogen-to-helium-and-energy

    • The energy output from the sun is  385 billion billion megawatts, of which the Earth receives 95 billion megawatts (about the energy from 95 million typical sized nuclear power plants).

earth-energy-from-the-sun-equivalent-to-95-million-nuclear-reactors

    • It takes 1 million years for the energy from the core to reach the surface of the sun.
    • About half of the sun’s hydrogen has been used up so far.

the-sun-has-used-half-of-its-hydrogen-fuel

    • The temperature at the core of the sun is 27 million degrees F (15 million degrees C).
    • The surface temperature of the sun is about 10 thousand degrees F (5,500 degrees C).

surface-temperature-of-the-sun-is-ten-thousand-degrees-fahrenheit

    • The sun has a differential rotation, about every 25 days at the surface of the equator and about 35 days near the poles.

differential-rotation-of-the-sun

    • The diameter of the sun is 864,000 miles wide (1.4 million km).
    • 109 Earths would fit across the width of the sun.

109-earths-fit-across-the-sun

    • The sun radiates light (photons) and charged particles of electrons and protons (solar wind).
    • The normal solar wind travels about 280 miles per second (450 km) and takes almost 4 days to reach the Earth.

solar-wind

    • The light from the sun (like all light) travels 186,282 miles per second (299,791 km) and takes about 8 and one-half minutes to reach the Earth which is 93 million miles away (150 million km).

light-speed-is-186-thousand-miles-per-second

    • Solar cycles occur every 11 years with an increase in sunspot activity, which sometimes erupt into solar flares that eject electromagnetic radiation particles into space.

solar-flare-11-year-cycle

 

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