The Universe Made Simple/The Solar System/The Sun
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When looking at our solar system, it is first important to look at the sun, which makes up 98% of the mass in the solar system. The gravity of the sun is so powerful that it attracts everything else in the solar system, which is why we orbit it. The sun has lived for approximately 4.5 billion years and is expected to live for another 5 billion years or so. The sun is very large, 109 Earths would make up the diameter and 1.3 million Earths would fit inside of it. The visible layer of the sun is called the photosphere. Photosphere means light sphere therefore we can see it. Temperatures in the photosphere can reach 6,000° Celsius. All of the energy powering the sun is created in the core where temperatures are up to 15 million° Celsius. From the core, the energy will take almost a million years to reach the surface. The actual composition of the sun is mostly hydrogen and helium.
The sun, like the planets, has an atmosphere. The outer part of the atmosphere is called the corona and is where prominences occur. Prominences are immense clouds of glowing gas. They erupt from the upper chromospheres and can only be seen during total solar eclipses. Solar winds are also a part of the Sun’s atmosphere. They are atomic particles that are blown outward from the Sun. They stretch across a lot of the solar system and are deflected by the magnetic fields of planets. When the solar winds aren’t deflected, auroras can be seen.Last modified on 6 May 2012, at 22:24