How Well Do You Know Basic Facts About the Sun?

By: Tasha Moore

What is the solar system's main source of energy?

The Sun keeps the solar system orderly, as it prevents the planets from aligning. Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, sustains temperatures as high as 840 degrees Fahrenheit.

By which process do green plants capture the Sun's energy and convert it into food?

Plants and other organisms convert the light's energy into chemical energy, which the organism uses as fuel. The sun's energy is stored in food as well as fossil fuels.

The Sun is positioned in which galaxy?

The Milky Way contains billions of stars, and the Sun is just one of those stars. The Sun is the closest star to Earth. Scientists estimate that the Sun is brighter than approximately 85 percent of the stars in the galaxy.

What does the Earth need from the Sun in order to sustain life?

Aside from the important weather patterns and photosynthesis that the Sun's light and heat make possible, sunlight and electromagnetic radiation are responsible for how humans are able to perceive themselves, the world and the universe. You might not appreciate the heat on an August day, though!

The Sun is composed mainly of which substance?

The Sun is a large gas ball made mostly of hydrogen and helium. The Sun's surface, or photosphere, gives off constant radiation and it consists of very dense gas, making it extremely hard for us to see through it.

How is energy transported through the photosphere?

The photosphere surface layer of the Sun is 300 miles thick. The photosphere produces solar flares, or bursts of fire, that generate flashes of radio waves, X-rays, ultraviolet radiation and electromagnetic radiation.

What is the name of a particle that transports light or electromagnetic radiation?

Photon particles result from the nuclear fusion reaction that occurs when hydrogen protons merge to produce helium nuclei. A photon bundle of electromagnetic radiation is a ray of light. Photons have no mass.

What did the ancient Romans call the Sun?

The naming of the days of the week after planetary bodies dates back to the Roman era. Sunday was reserved for the sun god. There were various manifestations of sun worship and sun cults during the Roman Empire.

Approximately how long does it take for sunlight to reach Earth?

Energy passes up through the Sun's surface, or photosphere, as visible sunlight, which is produced as electrons react with hydrogen atoms to produce hydrogen ions. The upper portion of the photosphere is cooler than that bottom part, making the Sun appear brighter at the center than the edges.

What is the Sun's approximate diameter measured in miles?

Our Sun's circumference is approximately 2,713,406 miles. Comparatively, the supergiant star Betelgeuse is 700 times bigger than the Sun.

How many years old is the Sun?

The Sun was formed as a result of the collapse of a molecular mass made mostly of hydrogen and helium, which then produced the Sun and other stars in the solar system. The residual clump that produced the Sun slowly concentrated and heated up due to gravitational forces.

The Sun takes up what percent of the solar system's entire mass?

The Sun's core is quite dense and accounts for nearly 60 percent of the Sun's mass. The German mathematician Johannes Kepler devised a way to calculate the Sun's mass by means of a planetary constant from his third law.

Eventually the Sun will stop working. When will this happen?

Scientists are able to estimate the period of time that the Sun has left to function based on the amount of hydrogen it is estimated to have. Based on computer analysis, there is enough hydrogen in the Sun to enable energy production for another 5 to 10 billion years at the current rate of nuclear fusion.

What is the loop of gas that trails magnetic field lines in between poles of sunspots?

A prominence is a large burst of incandescent gas that projects above the Sun's chromosphere into the solar corona, but is fastened to the photosphere. Prominences take about a day to form, and they can persist for months, spanning great distances into space.

How many protons does the Sun expend per second?

The Sun produces energy from the net change in mass that results from the merging of hydrogen protons into helium nuclei. This nuclear fusion process has been called a proton-proton process. Gamma radiation is emitted as a result.

What is the Sun's surface temperature?

Gas currents that the Sun's convective zone sends to the photosphere layer release energy there before getting sent back to the center of the Sun to be reheated. The Earth's core is hotter than the surface, and the temperature drops to 4,000 kelvins just beyond the photosphere.

What is the Sun's spectrum classification?

The Sun is the central G2 V star of the solar system. "G2" indicates that it is the second hottest of the yellow G spectrum class stars. "V" indicates that the Sun is a main-sequence dwarf star, which is the standard star of its temperature class.

What is the pattern on the Sun's surface that is created by the constant rising and falling of hot and cool gas pockets called?

The grainy pattern atop the Sun's surface, or photosphere, is produced by convective cells and are a result of a violent movement of gas beneath the surface. The granular pattern consists of hexagonal prism shapes.

Dark patches appear on the Sun's surface from time to time. What are these dark patches called?

Sunspots are dark in color because they are cooler than their surroundings. These regions carry powerful magnetic fields where less heat escapes the photosphere.

During a solar eclipse, which part of the Sun is visible to us?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's dark contour completely conceals the bright light from the Sun's photosphere. This enables us to see the fainter light of the solar corona.

The Earth receives much of the Sun's light by way of energy that is released by atoms in which layer?

The Earth and other components of the solar system revolve around the Sun. The Sun's light warms the Earth and is responsible for major terrestrial phenomena, such as global weather activity and plant photosynthesis.

What is the temperature of the Sun's core?

Intense gravitational forces produce tremendous pressure and high temperature at the Sun's core. The hydrogen-to-helium conversion that takes place in the core is a process called nuclear fusion and it produces vast amounts of energy.

What is a surge of charged particles that flows outwardly from the Sun's upper atmosphere called?

Solar wind is comprised mostly of protons and electrons that are heated at high temperatures generated by the solar corona. These particles are accelerated at velocities high enough for them to resist the gravitational field of the Sun and escape.

What is the name of the most violent solar storm ever recorded?

Solar storms, or geomagnetic storms, cause a disturbance of the Earth's magnetosphere. The Carrington Event, which happened on Sept. 2, 1859, generated fierce luminous arrays and sparked fires caused by the accelerated flow of electricity along telegraph wires, which ignited recording tape at various telegraph stations.

Electromagnetic radiation carries which layer of energy?

The Sun's radiative zone, or radiation zone, is the area of the solar interior between the innermost core and the outer convective zone. The radiative zone is 200,000 miles thick.

What name did the Greeks call the Sun during ancient times?

Ancient Greek religion personified the Sun as the male deity Helios. The Greeks depicted their Sun god Helios being hauled in a horse-drawn chariot from east to west across the sky.

What type of chemical reaction occurs in the Sun's core?

The hydrogen-to-helium conversion is nuclear fusion that produces highly charged photons that navigate the radiative layer that surrounds the core. It takes one million years for energy to pass through this layer to the convective layer, since the photons are constantly redirected, absorbed and re-released.

Where does the Sun generate its energy?

The solar core is located approximately 312,000 miles below the Sun's surface. The core is 20-25 percent of the Sun's radius, and it is 3 percent of the Sun's volume.

What is the lowest layer of the Sun's atmosphere?

The chromosphere, or color sphere, is located above the glaring photosphere layer and below the solar corona. The chromosphere and the corona are hotter than the Sun's surface.

Can you identify the name of the Sun's outer atmosphere?

The corona is the solar atmosphere that surrounds the Sun and other stars. The corona extends millions of miles into space and has a temperature of one to two million kelvins.

How many planet Earths could fit inside the Sun?

Although the Sun's volume is 1.3 million times the volume of Earth, the Sun is still considered a average-sized star. The Sun's radius is 109 times that of planet Earth.

In which direction does the Sun rotate?

The Sun rotates on its axis from east to west based on solar spectrum studies. The equator of the Sun rotates once every 26 days, and its poles rotate once every 36 days. Scientists believe that this differential rotation produces sunspots and causes magnetic fields to warp.

On average, how long does it take for the Sun to rotate?

At high altitudes, sunspots at the equator rotate at a rate of 28 days. The Sun's surface rotation is faster at the Sun's equator and slower at its poles. This phenomenon is prompted by the convective zone.

What is the surface of the Sun called?

The photosphere is solar atmosphere's innermost layer where the most light is released. The photosphere is 250 miles wide, and the temperatures in this layer range from 7,460 degrees F at the top part to 17,500 F at the bottom.

The Sun produces energy and heat through which process?

The Sun produces electromagnetic energy in its core through the process of nuclear fusion. Every second, 700 billion tons of hydrogen protons are used up. However, only a small percent of the resultant energy becomes light energy.

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Image: Kryssia Campos / Moment / Getty IMages

About This Quiz

You don't need astronomical reasoning to do well on this quiz about the all-too-important Sun. The center of our solar system stars in this super-informative test, and just about all the Sun's anatomy is covered here. You'll be amazed by how simple, yet so powerful that fiery ball truly is.

The Sun has been around for quite some time, about 4.5 billion years to be not-so exact. Keep in mind that scientific measurements concerning the Sun must be approximate considering its great distance and heat. All kinds of explosive forms of energy emanate from the Sun: X-rays, radiation, nuclear energy, etc. The Sun's simple layers do extraordinary things, too, like spark fires on planet Earth, as you shall soon read about in this quiz. During this digital solar exercise, you'll review a brief story about the birth of the Sun as well as tales about its ultimate demise. The Sun provides the seven planets power, balance and order. Hydrogen, the lightest of all the elements, fuels the Sun's heated endeavors. We could go on, but why spoil the blistering intrigue? 

Without further delay, scroll on and gain enlightenment about some fun Sun facts!

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