The Sun is a massive star in the solar system, around which all the planets and heavenly bodies revolve. This spherically shaped body helps to hold the solar system together. It is a ball of hydrogen gas and plasma that emits its light and energy to all planets in the solar system, including the Earth.

Facts about the Sun
Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

Interesting Facts about the Sun

It’s believed to be more than 4.603 billion years old and has a radius of 696,340 km. Although we see or feel the sun on a daily basis, we don’t know all the amazing facts about it. So here are 16 interesting facts about Sun that will blow your mind.

1) It Has a Perfectly Spherical Body

The difference between the Sun’s diameters measured equatorially and between the poles is about 10 kilometres, which is almost a perfect spherical shape. In other words, its equatorial diameter is 0.0003% wider than the polar width, which signifies it is 99.997% perfectly spherical.

2) The Temperature of the Sun can reach up to 15 million Degrees Celsius

There is a gravitational attraction at the core of the Sun that produces immense heat and pressure. Also, it has hydrogen gas having hydrogen atoms that get compressed and fuse up together, increasing the temperature up to 15 degrees Celsius at the core.

3) It takes 8 Minutes to for Light to Travel From Sun to Earth

Earth and the Sun are at a distance of 150 million km from each other. Due to this, Light rays from the sun travel for 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach the surface of Earth. This applies to all other planets in the solar system, however, planets closer to Sun receive light faster than we do and the farther the planet, the longer it takes.

4) The Sun Produces Solar Wind

When the plasma or collection of charged particles expands from the Sun’s outermost atmosphere, it expands to the point where it exits the Sun’s gravitational force. Also, it travels along the Sun’s magnetic field lines extending radially outward. In this way, when it rotates once every 27 days, it winds up into a huge rotating spiral and generates a constant stream of wind.

5) The Sun is a Second Closet Star to the Earth

In the solar system, Sun is the closest star to the Earth. It is just about 93 million miles away. However, outside the Sun there is a triple star system known as Proxima Centauri. It is 4.2421 light-years away from the Earth and is known as the nearest star from the Earth.

6) 1.3 Million Earths equivalent

We can fill the Sun with 1.3 million Earths. The Sun is an enormous star and has 99.86% of all the mass of the solar system. Also, the sun has a volume of 1.412 x 1018 km3 and the Earth has a volume of 1.083 x1012 km3, which shows that 1.3 million earth can fill up the Sun’s space. However, this does not apply to the weight of the Sun.

7) It Has a Strong Magnetic Field

The Sun has an immense magnetic field. When the magnetic energy gets released from the Sun, it produces Storm causing solar flares. These solar flares represent as a sunspot. Magnetic lines within these sunspot twist and spin as a tornado would on the Earth.

8) Its Gravity is 28 times stronger than the Earth’s gravity

The Sun has a mass of about 2 x 1013 kilograms. This makes the strength of the gravitational force on the surface of the Sun much stronger than on Earth. When compared to the gravitational force on the surface of the Earth, it’s 28 times stronger. That means, if a person weighs 1 kilogram on the surface of Earth, he/she will weigh 28 kilograms on the surface of the Sun.

9) It can be About the Size of the Earth One day

In 5.4 billion years from now, the Sun will be in the helium-burning process that will turn the Sun into a red giant star. After this process, the Sun will collapse and will have the size approximate to the size of the Earth. Although this will happen in eternity, it’s still interesting to know that it will shrink about to a volume 1.3 million times less than its original.

10) Helioseismology is the study of the interior of the Sun

By observing the waves on the surface of the Sun, we can know about the interior of the Sun. Helioseismology also includes the study of the surface of the sun, telling us the composition of its interior and outer surface.

11) The Sun was born about 4.603 billion years ago

From the radioactive dating of the oldest meteorites, the age of the Sun can obtain. According to scientists, the solar system had formed as a single unit. So, the age of the Sun can be similar to the age of other meteorites. Also, the Sun is at its middle age as it has burned off about half of its hydrogen. It has almost 5 billion years to burn off the remaining hydrogen.

12) Without the Sun there won’t be Photosynthesis Process

The process of Photosynthesis needs Sunlight, Carbon dioxide, and Water. Without all these natural resources, the photosynthesis process cannot conduct. If the photosynthesis process gets to stop, the plants will die within hours. And without oxygen from trees, the end of every animal species would come to an end. If the sun magically disappears from the sky, the earth would move at a speed of 30km/s towards other heavenly bodies and crash.

13) The distance between the Sun and the Earth is not constant

The Earth travels in an elliptical orbit of the Sun, so they aren’t consistent as a circle. The ellipse is a flattened circle where the Sun is closer to the one end of that ellipse. So, the distance may vary according to its rotation.

14) The Sun emits three kinds of electromagnetic radiation

Mostly, the Sun emits Visible light, 99% of its rays consist of Visible Light. However, Ultraviolet rays and Infrared Ray comes in the form of heat.

15) The Sun is the mixture of all colours

The Sun has a mix of all colours but it appears to be white from our eyes. The powerful process happening in the Sun is so strong that it emits every colour of light imaginable. Rainbows are the light from the sun that represents colours of the Sun. These different colours have different wavelengths.

16) The Sun is as bright as 4 trillion 100-watt light bulbs.

It is the brightest star as it is close to the Earth. It creates daylight to the Earth scattering the rays from the sun and making a bright sky. Because of the brightness, it is difficult to see the stars during the day time.

The Sun is very essential for the whole solar system to exist. Sadly, the sun will run out of hydrogen and turn to a red giant expanding up to 256 times more than its current size. This will scorch life off Earth but we’re talking about something that will happen 5 billion years later. Who knows mankind might be advanced enough to do intergalactic travel or find a new Earth in a parallel universe.

Ashwin Khadka is a PhD Scholar in Nano Energy and Thermofluid Lab in Korea University, Republic of Korea under Korean Government Scholarship Program. He has a Masters Degree in Physics from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He is a science enthusiast, researcher and writer.