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solar system

solar system

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Published by: api-3808551 on Oct 17, 2008
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Sun

Mankind will not remain on Earth forever, but in its quest for light and space will at first timidly penetrate
beyond the confines of the atmosphere, and later will conquer for itself all the space near the Sun. - Konstantin
E. Tsiolkovsky

Sun Introduction
S
un Statistics
E
clipse & Sun Movies
V
iews of the Sun
Solar Discoveries
S
un Exploration
Chronology
S
harpest View of the Sun
S
un's Place in the Galaxy
S
olar Mystery Nears
Solution
S
olar Flare Leaves Sun
Quaking
S
olar Atmosphere Gets
Hot
S
un Picture/Animation
Gallery
T
he Day the Solar Wind
Disappeared
T
race Discovers Moss on
the Sun
F
ountains of Fire
Educator's Guides
G
uide to Convection
G
uide to Eclipses
G
uide to Sunspots
Sun Resources
S
olar Data Analysis Center
T
he High Altitude
Observatory
N
ational Solar Observatory
C
urrent Solar Images
T
oday's Space Weather
U
lysses Home Page
U
lysses/ESA Home Page
T
he Sun - A Multimedia
Tour
E
xploratorium Solar
Eclipse

The Sun is the most prominent feature in our solar
system. It is the largest object and contains approximately
98% of the total solar system mass. One hundred and nine
Earths would be required to fit across the Sun's disk, and
its interior could hold over 1.3 million Earths. The Sun's
outer visible layer is called the photosphere and has a
temperature of 6,000\u00b0C (11,000\u00b0F). This layer has a
mottled appearance due to the turbulent eruptions of
energy at the surface.

Solar energy is created deep within the core of the Sun. It
is here that the temperature (15,000,000\u00b0 C; 27,000,000\u00b0
F) and pressure (340 billion times Earth's air pressure at
sea level) is so intense that nuclear reactions take place.
This reaction causes four protons or hydrogen nuclei to
fuse together to form one alpha particle or helium
nucleus. The alpha particle is about .7 percent less
massive than the four protons. The difference in mass is
expelled as energy and is carried to the surface of the
Sun, through a process known asconvection, where it is
released as light and heat. Energy generated in the Sun's
core takes a million years to reach its surface. Every
second 700 million tons of hydrogen are converted into
heliumashes. In the process 5 million tons of pure energy
is released; therefore, as time goes on the Sun is
becoming
lighter.

The
chromosphere is above the photosphere. Solar
energy
passes through this region on its way out from the
center of the
Sun. Faculae and flares arise in the chromosphere.
Faculae are
bright luminous hydrogen clouds which form above
regions
where sunspots are about to form. Flares are bright
filaments of
hot gas emerging from sunspot regions. Sunspots
are dark
depressions on the photosphere with a typical
temperature
of 4,000\u00b0C (7,000\u00b0F).

The corona is the outer part of the Sun's atmosphere. It is in this region thatprominences appears. Prominences
are immense clouds of glowing gas that erupt from the upper chromosphere. The outer region of the corona
stretches far into space and consists of particles traveling slowly away from the Sun. The corona can only be
seen during total solar eclipses. (See Solar Eclipse Image).

The Sun appears to have been active for 4.6 billion years and has enough fuel to go on for another five billion years or so. At the end of its life, the Sun will start to fuse helium into heavier elements and begin to swell up, ultimately growing so large that it will swallow the Earth. After a billion years as a red giant, it will suddenly collapse into a white dwarf -- the final end product of a star like ours. It may take a trillion years to cool off completely.

Sun Statistics
Mass (kg)
1.989e+30
Mass (Earth = 1)
332,830
Equatorial radius (km)
695,000
Equatorial radius (Earth = 1)
108.97
Mean density (gm/cm^3)
1.410
Rotational period (days)
25-36*
Escape velocity (km/sec)
618.02
Luminosity (ergs/sec)
3.827e33
Magnitude (Vo)
-26.8
Mean surface temperature
6,000\u00b0C
Age (billion years)
4.5

Principal chemistry
Hydrogen
Helium
Oxygen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Neon
Iron
Silicon
Magnesium
Sulfur
All others

92.1%
7.8%
0.061%
0.030%
0.0084%
0.0076%
0.0037%
0.0031%
0.0024%
0.0015%
0.0015%

* The Sun's period of rotation at the surface varies from approximately 25 days at the equator to 36 days at the
poles. Deep down, below the convective zone, everything appears to rotate with a period of 27 days.
Earth Introduction
My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.
-Edgar Mitchell, USA
Table of Contents
Earth Introduction

Earth Statistics
Earth Movies
Views of the Earth

Earth's Moon
T
he Moon
Earth Science
E
arth's Interior & Plate
Tectonics
E
arth From Space
C
louds From Space

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