The Sun is one of the most interesting things in our Solar System, and it directly affects our planet in so many ways. This burning, orange orb is as beautiful as it is fearsome, and over the course of history, the Sun has been worshipped in several cultures.
There is so much stuff on Earth that happens as a direct result of the Sun, and so much that would not happen without the influence of the Sun. The more we learn about this star, the more we come to realize its importance to our lives; here are 5 cool facts about it.
1. You could fit one million Earths inside the Sun!
We think that our Earth is vast and gigantic, and in many ways it is. We don’t truly realize just how small and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. Indeed, the Earth as an entire planet would fit into the Sun one million times over, and that’s just staggering. In fact, the exact figure is 1,300,000 Earths would fit inside the Sun if they were squashed in.
2. The Sun will eventually consume the Earth
Don’t start checking those space flights to Alpha Centauri just yet, this isn’t going to happen any time soon. When the Sun has burned out all its hydrogen, which is going to take a good long while, it will burn helium for around 130 years. By this point, it will become a Red Giant and will expand to consume the Earth. However, by this stage, we may well have created another Earth on another planet, and mankind may live on this way.
3. The Sun is only at middle age
It is incredible the scope of the universe, and there were billions of years before humans existed, and will continue to be billions of years after many of us have died out. To put this in perspective, the Sun is calculated as being 4.9 billion years old, but it is believed to be only middle age. In another 5 billion years scientists believe the Sun will enter its Red Giant phase, where it will begin to consume planets.
4. Light from the Sun takes 8 minutes to reach Earth
It takes millions of years for light and energy to travel from the Sun’s core to its surface. When we see the Sun, we believe that we are getting the light instantly, but we aren’t. In reality, the Sun is around 150 kilometers away from Earth, and as such, the light takes about 8 minutes to reach us, not that we would know.
5. It has a strong magnetic field
It might come as a surprise to hear this, but the Sun actually has a very strong magnetic field. Indeed, during magnetic storms, the Sun releases powerful magnetic energy, and this can cause solar flares to occur, which we see as sunspots. These behave in much the same way as a tornado would behave on Earth.
It is clear that the Sun is massively important, and in many ways, it anchors our Solar System as a whole. We need to know as much as possible about the Sun because it affects our climate, and is the most important energy source for helping to develop life on Earth. The Sun is just as influential to other planets in the Solar System, even those that don’t contain forms of life.