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Facts about the Sun

The Sun is the most important thing in the universe. The Sun is the driving force behind life on Earth. Without the Sun, planets like Earth would not be able to sustain their environments and, therefore, all life would die out. In fact, the Sun is the center of the Solar System. Earth revolves around the Sun and the position of the sun affects the weather patterns and seasons of every iota of land on Earth. For example, in New York it is hot in July because the Sun is closer to the state then whereas it is cold in January because the Sun is further away from New York at that time. The Sun makes up approximately 99.86% of the Solar system’s mass and is 865,000 miles wide—a diameter that is about 110 times wider than Earth’s. However, although it is quite large and resembles a planet, the Sun is actually a star.

Sunsets are a beautiful sight in the evening while sunny days are a great excuse to sunbathe and enjoy the outdoors.
Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images
The sun is the basis for some lovely sunsets!
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Although the Sun is essentially important to nature, it is also an essential part of life on Earth and many cultures have artwork, stories and songs that pay homage to the sun. In fact, because of the Sun’s enormous influence on Earth, many ancient peoples viewed the Sun as a deity or even a god. For example, Ancient Egyptians had a sun god called Ra while Aztec mythology mentioned the worship of a sun god named Tonatiuh.

Below is a list of some facts about the Sun:

• The Sun’s core is around 13600000 degrees Celsius!

• The Sun generates huge amounts of energy by combining hydrogen nuclei into helium. This process is called nuclear fusion.

• Light from the Sun reaches Earth in around 8 minutes.

• The Sun’s surface temperature is around 5500 degrees Celsius (9941 degrees Fahrenheit), so pack plenty of sunscreen if you plan on visiting (remembering that the average distance from the Sun to the Earth is around 150 million kilometers).

• About 74% of the Sun’s mass is made up of hydrogen. Helium makes up around 24% while heavier elements such as oxygen, carbon, iron and neon make up the remaining percentage.

• The Sun produces a solar wind which contains charged particles such as electrons and protons. They escape the Sun’s intense gravity because of their high kinetic energy and the high temperature of the Sun’s corona (which is a kind of plasma atmosphere that extends into space).

• Planets with strong magnetic fields such as Earth manage to deflect most of these charged particles as they approach.

• A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is between the Sun and the Earth.

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