December 26, 2023

5 Enlightening Facts About the Sun

In the heart of our solar system lies the Sun, the brightest star to ever be viewed from Earth. For as long as humanity has prevailed, we have held the Sun in the highest esteem for its scientific, biological and cultural significance. Life on our planet can be attributed to the great star’s presence, without which we would not be here.

Take a look at these five things that you didn’t know about the Sun:

Astronomical Size

With a diameter of over 1.39 million kilometres, the Sun is 109 times bigger than the diameter of Earth. In fact, its vast volume means that it could fit about 1.3 million Earth-sized planets inside it!

Fast Fireball

Along with the solar system, the Sun is actually moving around the centre of the Milky Way, and it’s doing so at an astonishing 220km per second. At this rate, it takes approximately 225-250 million years to complete one orbit.

Age-Old Sol

According to scientists, the Sun came into being approximately 4.6 billion years ago. They surmise that it formed when a rotating cloud of gas and dust known as the solar nebula collapsed because of its gravity. As a result, it spun faster and flattened into a disk, and it was from this that most of the material was pulled toward the center to form the Sun.

500-Second Sunlight

The Sun lies approximately 150 million kilometres away from Earth. Light from the star travels at about 300 000km per minute, which means that sunlight reaches our planet in 500 seconds, or eight minutes and twenty seconds. If the Sun were to disappear, we would only notice after the same amount of time!

Only 5 Billion Years to Go

Scientists estimate that the Sun is already halfway through its life, as it has already burned off around half of its hydrogen stores. With 72% of hydrogen making up its mass, the Sun has enough of it left to continue burning hydrogen for another five billion years before it swells up into a red giant star.