When we look at the sun, we see a flashing light, a bright yellow circle in the middle of the sky. Many people also know that it is in the center of our solar system. But, what is the science behind the sun? How did it form? How big is it actually? All these questions will be answered throughout this article.
The sun is something known as a yellow dwarf star, it is an immensely hot sphere of gases and its gravity keeps all of our solar system together like Jupiter and Mars. The Sun interacts and connects with every planet, on Earth, it drives the seasons, ocean currents, auroras, climate, radiation belts, and our weather. Although we see the sun as something very special, there are actually billions of stars like the sun scattered across our galaxy, the Milky Way. The Latin word for sun is “sol”, and is the adjective for all things related to the sun, solar. Like other stars, the Sun is a ball of gas. It is made out of 91% hydrogen atoms, and 8.9 % helium atoms. If we measure the Sun from the middle or core of the star, to one of its sides, it is approximately 432,168.6 miles or 695,508 kilometers. This is only its radius. If we were to compare the mass of the Earth with the Sun, we would need 332,946 Earths to match its mass, and if the sun were empty inside, we would need 1.3 million Earths to fill it up. The Sun and all of our solar system formed from a huge, rotating cloud of gas which is called a solar nebula about 4.5 billion years ago. As there was an overwhelming amount of gravity during that time, the solar nebula collapsed and it began to spin faster and faster, flattening into a disk. Most of the atoms and materials were pulled to its center and formed our sun which accounts for 99.8% of the mass of the entire solar system.
Someday, like all stars, the Sun will run out of energy. When it starts to die, it will swell up so much that it will engulf Mercury, Venus, and there is even a chance of engulfing Earth. Scientists have predicted that the Sun however, is still less than halfway through its lifetime and will last another 6.5 billion years before it shrinks down into a white dwarf. So, now you know a bit more about the Sun and can go outside to enjoy more of it.