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Illinois . Chicago. Wells Albert Whitman & Company.O D E Y L EPHA NTS N EED H W U S N ? E H T Robert E.
W448 2010 599. nephew Nathaniel. and niece Anna–who know all about living with plenty of sunshine.67—dc22 2009048127 Can You Count to a Googol? Did a Dinosaur Drink This Water? How Do You Know What Time It Is? How Do You Lift a Lion? Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? Polar Bear. The sun looks bigger and brighter to us than other stars. brother-in-law Al. without permission in writing from the publisher. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means. cm. Distributed by Open Road Distribution.albertwhitman. Wells: Wells. because it’s the closest star to Earth. For more information about Albert Whitman & Company. QB521. Title. . including photocopying. recording. Robert E. I. Sun—Juvenile literature.5. Wells. p. Why Is Your World Melting? What’s Faster Than a Speeding Cheetah? What’s Older Than a Giant Tortoise? What’s Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? What’s So Special About Planet Earth? Text and illustrations copyright © 2010 by Robert E. Wells. electronic or mechanical. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Also by Robert E. Wells. Our sun is one of them. Water cycle—Juvenile literature.For my sister Betsy. 3. 2. THERE ARE TRILLIONS OF STARS IN THE UNIVERSE. The illustration media are pen and acrylic. Published in 2010 by Albert Whitman & Company. The design is by Carol Gildar and Robert E. ISBN 978-0-8075-9081-2 1. Photosynthesis—Juvenile literature.com. please visit our web site at www. All rights reserved. or by any information storage and retrieval system. Why do elephants need the sun? / Robert E.
t m 3 9 iles aw light I from ay.a huge. Eart z i s s h would b about thi e s l a a l m l i o n ver the wo a d n a s t n a l rld P u n s ’ s e e h n t e n r g o y to live. . fiery ga s i n u s s ba l The l d n s e . depend . e. than a million Ear e r o M ths could fit inside it! Compared to the sun. 0 0 0 0 0 0 . m s e t t h a i a n d a d r . s w r a o r .
They need the sun to keep warm and to help grow the food they eat. Elephants eat plants. Elephants certainly do. Trucks need lots of fuel. and without the sun. So do elephants. Some elephants eat 400 pounds of plants every day! . plants can’t live.A male African elephant is Earth’s biggest land animal. It can weigh as much as a truck.
They do this by photosynthesis. or takes in. plants can make their own food! . enters through the leaves . Chlorophyll absorbs. It works like this: inside leaves is a green pigment called chlorophyll. sunlight. using the sun’s energy. . Carbon dioxide. Chlorophyll. Plants need food. too. But with the help of the sun.and water is drawn from the ground by the plant’s roots. helps transform the water and carbon dioxide into a sugar called glucose — the food plants need to live and grow. . a gas in the air.
It is released into the air. WATER MOLECU LE CHLOROPHYLL USES THE SUN’S EN ERGY 1 OX YGEN ATOM TO SPLIT OX YGEN A N D HYDROGEN ATOMS A PART. W hen people and animals eat plants. oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen part is not needed. 2 HYDROGEN ATOMS Then they breathe out carbon dioxide— and plants use it to make more glucose. and animals and people breathe it. they use the glucose for their own energy.In photosynthesis. the water inside plants splits into its two parts. Plants and animals are truly life partners— helped along by the sun! .
. causing wind. The hot sun can dry up a water hole . just as plants do. Wind blows clouds over land. and cooler air rushes in to take its place. The warmer air rises. evaporates ocean water. Especially elephants. . and help fill it up again! How? w a r n ms the air more u s e h T The sun’s heat in some places than others. A thirsty elephant may drink 50 gallons a day! turning it into water vapor.Animals need to drink water. leaving the salt behind. and water falls as rain or snow. . The water vapor rises and forms clouds.
.Water will soak into the ground and help plants grow. and some will flow into the water holes where elephants drink. so elephants can eat. Some of the rain will fall on grassy savannas where elephants live.
But what is gravity? p. It pulls on everything in the universe.thr ow If yo u . sb GR AVITY helps the sun create its amazing energy. the more gravity pulls on it. down ack nature’s forces. That’s why an elephant weighs so much more than a baboon. The more material. it com u l l a b e i s y o t n i e v a o r f G a Earth’s strong gravity easily pulls the ball toward the ground. . an object has. or mass. Earth’s gravity pulls on the elephant with much more force.
G TY I V A R H TUN E ITY V A GR GR AV IT Y Gravity pushes on the sun’s surface and compresses the hydrogen gas inside. like Earth.The sun’s gravity is much. causing the hydrogen atoms to heat up. much stronger than Earth’s. MERCURY M AR S J UP IT ER VEN US SATUR N UR A N US EAR T N EP The sun’s powerful gravity holds all 8 planets in their orbits. . keeping them from flying off into the cold darkness of space! How does gravity help the sun generate energy? GR AV IT The sun is not Y solid. It’s made up mostly of hydrogen gas. because the sun has much greater mass.
generates great amounts of heat and light. R ADIATIVE ZON E d e l l a then th c r e y a l r a h c i h the co ough nvective zone.000. of the sun. GR AV GR IT Y TY I AV CORE TY IT I Y V This process. surface. or 5.500 degrees C.000 degrees C.000 degrees F. or core.At the center. it has cooled to about 10. AV GRRA G GRR G AAV VIITT YY Nuclear fusion heats the sun’s core to an amazing 28.000 degrees F. CORE This tremendous heat slowly travels through a gas layer called the radiative zone. w ’s n u transfers s e heat to th .. the pressure is so great that the hydrogen atoms are transformed into helium atoms. or 15. called nuclear fusion. but still 30 times hotter than an oven baking a cake! . or photosphere NV O C V TI C E E E N ZO PHOTOSPHERE By the time the heat reaches the photosphere..500.—much cooler than at the core.
000 degrees C. Moon moving in front of the sun Total solar eclipse Moon moving away from sun Just above the sun’s surface.700.000 degrees F. ome of its life-giv s g n i d ing sen y all the way to Earth! energ ..The corona is a very thin gas that makes up most of the sun’s atmosphere. CORONA The corona reaches out hundreds of thousands of miles and radiates the sun’s heat and light into space— SOLAR ECLIPSE A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and sun. or 1. block ing out the sun’s light. It can be seen as a bright cloudy halo around the darkened sun during a total solar eclipse.000. a lower layer of atmospheric gas called the chromosphere transfers the sun’s heat to the corona—heating the corona to more than 3.
Over the years. In recent years. or heating water for household use. people have discovered that sunlight can generate electricity— with photovoltaic solar cells. which heats water in tank. people have devised ways to use the sun for many purposes. drying clothes. like telling time. . Black tank absorbs sun’s heat.
The sun’s heat also creates the wind for wind turbines to generate electricity. which spin a generator. BLADE GEN ER ATOR So they can generate electricity when solar cells can’t! The wind turns the blades.Wind turbines make good partners for photovoltaic solar cells. . because wind still blows after the sun goes down.
But not one of them is as important to us as our very own star.W hen we look up at the night sky. the sun! No one could ever count them all. we can see some of the trillions of stars in the universe. .
3 minutes to travel the same distance! of all the mass in the solar system. Never look directly at the sun— it can damage your eyes. Huge flares of hot gases called es prominenc t fro shoot no’us surfamce the suands of mil thoutos the corona. but don’t worry— it won’t happen for about 5 billion years! .es in 7. 2. 9. . 5 million tons of the sun’s mass is converted into energy every second! 10. If you could drive from Earth to the sun. traveling at 60 miles per hour.6 billion years ago elec trom a gnetic energy. ion t c a ll frn’s a m su — s a Only f thenergy o e about o part ne in two billion— reaches Earth. the su e m So ill use up al n w s fuel an l d it i sh ning . The sun began to form about 4. Sunspots are darker areas on the sun’s surface tha er l t are o o than a little c e. 8. And too much sun can burn your skin. but it takes sunlight only 8.from a giant cloud of space dust. energy created e Thclear fusion insi b nu e sun is called de th 6. 3. The sun contains about 99% y 1. the surfac 4. 5. it would take about 175 years . stop . day.. . But that’s enough.
The study of biology and physics together has revealed to us the miracle of photosynthesis. and especially the invention of scientific tools such as microscopes and telescopes. New information is being discovered every year. or how gravity controls the orbits of planets. we wouldn’t know that the sun was the center of the solar system. for studying the sun and revealing all the things it does for us on Earth. The tireless and dedicated work of scientists in many different fields. Without physicists.A THANK YOU NOTE TO THE WORLD’S SCIENTISTS A ncient people knew the sun was important. the scientists who study physical matter. they’d better return to their caves to avoid the danger of wild animals and to sleep until the sun returned. people did not know what the sun was made of or how it worked. Without your work. Without astronomers. They knew that when the sun set at the end of each day and the sky turned dark. the scientists who study planets and stars. scientists. we’d never have learned what kind of energy radiates from the sun. But until the advent of scientific inquiry. our ancestors knew very well the sun was important. Thank you. It measured out their days as it moved across the sky. from the middle ages through modern times. . It kept them warm and gave them light. a book such as this would not be possible. Yes. and climate scientists have learned over the years how the sun’s heat is the energy behind all the world’s weather systems. has continued to add to the world’s knowledge about our sun. or how its core creates energy from nuclear fusion. throughout history and around the world.
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