Last updated on January 16th, 2013
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)
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 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).
- The sun has a differential rotation, about every 25 days at the surface of the equator and about 35 days near the poles.
- The diameter of the sun is 864,000 miles wide (1.4 million km).
- 109 Earths would fit across the width of 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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