Tag Archives: Sun

The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is by far the largest object in the solar system. It contains more than 99.8% of the total mass of the Solar System (Jupiter contains most of the rest). Its diameter is about 109 times that of Earth (Equatorial radius: 695,700 km/432,288 mi, Equatorial circumference: 4.379×106 km/2,720,984.45 mi), and its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth.

It is often said that the Sun is an “ordinary” star. That’s true in the sense that there are many others similar to it. But there are many more smaller stars than larger ones; the Sun is in the top 10% by mass. The median size of stars in our galaxy is probably less than half the mass of the Sun.

The Sun

About three quarters of the Sun’s mass consists of hydrogen; the rest is mostly helium, with much smaller quantities of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon, and iron.

The Sun is a G-type main-sequence star (G2V) based on spectral class and is informally referred to as a yellow dwarf. It formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of matter within a region of a large molecular cloud. Most of this matter gathered in the center, whereas the rest flattened into an orbiting disk that became the Solar System. The central mass became so hot and dense, that it eventually initiated nuclear fusion in its core. It is thought that almost all stars form by this process.

The Sun is roughly middle-aged and has not changed dramatically for over four billion years, and will remain fairly stable for more than another five billion years. However, after hydrogen fusion in its core has stopped, the Sun will undergo severe changes and become a red giant. It is calculated that the Sun will become sufficiently large to engulf the current orbits of Mercury, Venus, and possibly Earth.

Planets and the sun - size comparison

Planets and the sun – size comparison

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Earth: a fast-moving Spacecraft

In fact, we’re all living in a fast-moving spacecraft named Earth. Our planet is moving around our sun in an elliptical (an ellipse which is very close to a circle) orbit. The Sun is (our solar system, the Sun, Earth and all the other planets and objects) whirls around the center of our galaxy. And, our galaxy and the other galaxies in our neighborhood are also rushing towards a structure called the Great Attractor, a region of space roughly 150 million light-years (one light year is about six trillion miles) away from us. This Great Attractor, having a mass 100 quadrillion times greater than our sun and span of 500 million light-years, is made of both the visible matter that we can see along with the so-called dark matter that we cannot see.
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