Astronomy

Astronomy what is the Sun and what is it Made of



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Picture this, you are sitting outside on your front porch, sunlight hitting you square on the face. Doesn't it feel grand? Now not to let it discourage you from enjoying the beauty of that beaming light, but really all it is, is a burning, bubbling ball of gas. Kind of cut and dried ain't it?

HOW TO WHIP UP SOME SUN

So what is that shining light up there anyway? We've already established the idea of a burning ball of gas, but what else is it? Is it a light bulb that turns on during the day and then turns off during the night? Not quite, it's a star, a yellow dwarf they call it. And it's the largest object in our solar system.

Hydrogen, and helium are the main two ingredients that make up that shining mass in the sky. But add a touch of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, magnesium and iron and we have the complete recipe for a sunny dish that should last for quite a few more years. And without the addition of all those smaller amounts of ingredients, we would have less clues on what conditions in the solar atmosphere are like. The size of that dish would be enormous, considering we can fit 109 flattened earth's across the sun's diameter.

CRAZY MEASUREMENTS

The Earth's diameter is a whopping 12,756 kilometers. Guess what the Sun's diameter is? By now I hope you figured on quite a larger measurement. The sun is 1,392,000 km in diameter. It's like comparing a watermelon to a plum. 330,000 times bigger in mass, the sun is a giant compared to Earth. You think getting a burn on a 350 degree oven eye is hot? Try going near the sun's steaming hot surface temperature at 6,000 degrees. Burnt to crisp would be the understatement of the year. And at its' center it's a sizzling 15 million degrees. Quite a leap from 6,000!

Ah here comes the sun, our friend in the sky and the nearest star to us, it's only about 150 million kilometers away. Comparing that to how close the planet Pluto is and that statistic is small indeed. Pluto exists in space 6 billion kilometers away from the sun. A good placement of the sun for us considering we need the light and heat for advanced life on our planet. There are stars bigger then the sun, and stars that burn hotter then the sun too. How could it get any hotter you might ask? Well it can.. some stars can have a surface temperature of 40,000 degrees!

SPACE CADETS

Galileo, have you heard of him before? He was the first astronomer to direct his telescope toward the moon, planets and stars. Sir Norman Lockyer among other astronomers discovered helium on the sun during an eclipse. They found helium there before they found it here on Earth. Now we find it at every birthday party in those lovely helium balloons. Halley's comet's path of orbit was discovered by the astronomer Edmund Halley in 1682.(He was also buddy buddy with Issac Newton.)

If you fancy a trip to the sun any time soon check out this site I found: www.suntrek.org. Great for a journey into a space! And there are more amazing facts about the sun there. It's alright to be a little spacey sometimes!

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