Related topics: earth · nasa · stars · magnetic field · solar system

Indian scientists make deepest radio images of the sun

The sun is the brightest object in the sky, and probably the most studied celestial object. Surprisingly, it still hosts mysteries that scientists have been trying to unravel for decades, for example, the origin of coronal ...

Unexpected rain on sun links two solar mysteries

For five months in mid 2017, Emily Mason did the same thing every day. Arriving to her office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, she sat at her desk, opened up her computer, and stared at images ...

Curiosity captured two solar eclipses on Mars

When NASA's Curiosity Mars rover landed in 2012, it brought along eclipse glasses. The solar filters on its Mast Camera (Mastcam) allow it to stare directly at the Sun. Over the past few weeks, Curiosity has been putting ...

And the blobs just keep on coming

When Simone Di Matteo first saw the patterns in his data, it seemed too good to be true. "It's too perfect!" Di Matteo, a space physics Ph.D. student at the University of L'Aquila in Italy, recalled thinking. "It can't be ...

Video: Solar Orbiter during thermal-vacuum tests

An infrared view of our Solar Orbiter spacecraft, which is currently undergoing a series of tests at the IABG facility in Ottobrunn, Germany, ahead of its launch, scheduled for February 2020.

Race at the edge of the sun: Ions are faster than atoms

Scientists at the University of Göttingen, the Institut d'Astrophysique in Paris and the Istituto Ricerche Solari Locarno have observed that ions move faster than atoms in the gas streams of a solar prominence. The results ...

Image: SOHO's equinox sun

Last Wednesday, all locations on our planet enjoyed roughly the same number of hours of day and night. This event, called an equinox, takes place twice a year – around 20 March and then again around 23 September.

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The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. The Earth and other matter (including other planets, asteroids, meteoroids, comets, and dust) orbit the Sun, which by itself accounts for about 99.86% of the Solar System's mass. The mean distance of the Sun from the Earth is approximately 149.6 million kilometers (93.0 million miles), and its light travels this distance in 8 minutes and 19 seconds. This distance varies throughout the year from a minimum of 147.1 million kilometers (91.4 million miles) on the perihelion (around 3 January), to a maximum of 152.1 million kilometers (94.5 million miles) on the aphelion (around 4 July). Energy from the Sun, in the form of sunlight, supports almost all life on Earth via photosynthesis, and drives the Earth's climate and weather. The Sun consists of hydrogen (about 74% of its mass, or 92% of its volume), helium (about 24% of mass, 7% of volume), and trace quantities of other elements, including iron, nickel, oxygen, silicon, sulfur, magnesium, carbon, neon, calcium, and chromium.

The Sun has a spectral class of G2V. G2 means that it has a surface temperature of approximately 5,780 K (5,510 °C) giving it a white color, which often appears as yellow when seen from the surface of the Earth because of atmospheric scattering. It is this scattering of light at the blue end of the spectrum that gives the surrounding sky its color. The Sun's spectrum contains lines of ionized and neutral metals as well as very weak hydrogen lines. The V (Roman five) in the spectral class indicates that the Sun, like most stars, is a main sequence star. This means that it generates its energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium. There are more than 100 million G2 class stars in our galaxy. Once regarded as a small and relatively insignificant star, the Sun is now known to be brighter than 85% of the stars in the galaxy, most of which are red dwarfs.

The Sun's hot corona continuously expands in space creating the solar wind, a hypersonic stream of charged particles that extends to the heliopause at roughly 100 AU. The bubble in the interstellar medium formed by the solar wind, the heliosphere, is the largest continuous structure in the Solar System.

The Sun is currently traveling through the Local Interstellar Cloud in the low-density Local Bubble zone of diffuse high-temperature gas, in the inner rim of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, between the larger Perseus and Sagittarius arms of the galaxy. Of the 50 nearest stellar systems within 17 light-years (1.6×1014 km) from the Earth, the Sun ranks 4th in mass as a fourth magnitude star (M = +4.83)., although slightly different values for the magnitude have been published, for example 4.85 and 4.81. The Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way galaxy at a distance of approximately 24,000–26,000 light years from the galactic center, moving generally in the direction of Cygnus and completing one revolution in about 225–250 million years (one Galactic year). Its orbital speed was thought to be 220 ± 20, km/s but a new estimate gives 251 km/s. Since our galaxy is moving with respect to the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) in the direction of Hydra with a speed of 550 km/s, the sun's resultant velocity with respect to the CMB is about 370 km/s in the direction of Crater or Leo.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA