Understanding our Sun!

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The sun.. you know, that big, painfully bright yellowish-white dot that’s visible in the sky for a few hours each day.. Yes.. THAT thing. If it didn’t exist, neither would we and furthermore, if we were located much closer or much farther away, our planet would potentially be radically different than it is now.

Anyhow, we are a long way away from understanding SOL (the Latin name for the Sun) entirely. This infograph briefly touches on one of the biggest mysteries of the sun.. why does the temperature vary so much between the sun’s surface and its corona?

You can see a larger (and more legible) version of this image here:
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/637265main_solar-anatomy-MOS-orig.jpg

In addition to the sun’s variance of temperatures, we also question why the sun appears ‘too round’ to completely explain certain cosmic phenomena. Also, what’s up with the sun’s solar cycles? How do these cycles influence our climate?

NASA has produced a series of videos that discuss some of these issues that are pretty incredible. I highly suggest each of you check them out:

http://missionscience.nasa.gov/sun/

 

NOW! There are a lot of things we DO know about our parent star. Here are a few of my favorite, “holy crap that’s really awesome” facts about the sun (and if you want to share them individually, follow the link and you can find them in graphic form):

1: You could fit 107 suns between us (the Earth) and the sun!

http://tinyurl.com/107suns-fqtq-fb

 

2: If our sun were just an inch in diameter, the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, would be 445 miles away. That is almost the distance between New York City, NY and Cleveland Ohio.

Link to fun-fact: http://tinyurl.com/sundistance-fqtq-fb

3: The most probable explanation for the unprecedented and still unmatched quality of the Stradivari violins is that the sun went through a ‘solar rest’ period from about 1645 to 1715, causing Europe to experience a mini-ice age. Long winters and cool summers encourage slow tree growth, so during this time, the wood from the spruce trees that Stradivari used to create his violins were unusually hard and dense, making for excellent violins

Link to fun-fact: http://tinyurl.com/stradivariviolins-fqtq-fb

4: The sun typically loses 1 billion kilograms of mass per second due to solar winds alone. That’s the equivalent mass of 4,444 statues of liberty (or about 5 billion hamsters)!

Link to fun-fact: http://tinyurl.com/solarwinds-dyk-fqtq

5: The sun produces so much energy, that every second, the core releases the equivalent of 100 billion nuclear bombs.

Link to fun-fact: http://tinyurl.com/sunsenergyoutput-dyk-fqtq

and last:

If you condensed the history of the universe into one Earth calendar year, then:

- The big bang happened on January 1st
- Our sun was oorn on September 8th
- Earth was born on September 11th
- Human existence began at 11:39 pm on December 31st

and in the very next year:

- Our sun turns into a red giant on May 2nd
… the same for Andromeda merging with the Milky Way.

Link to fun-fact: http://tinyurl.com/1calendaryear-dyk-fqtq

By Jaime Trosper  ( From Quarks to Quasars’s Facebook Page.)

 

 

 

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