The Sun is a 4.5 billion-year-old yellow dwarf star – a warm glowing ball of hydrogen and also helium – at the facility of our solar mechanism. It’s around 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from Earth and also it’s our solar system’s just star. Without the Sun’s energy, life as we understand it might not exist on our residence planet.

From our vantage suggest on Earth, the Sun might show up prefer an untransforming resource of light and heat in the skies. But the Sun is a dynamic star, constantly altering and sfinishing power out into space. The science of researching the Sun and also its affect throughout the solar device is dubbed heliophysics.

The Sun is the biggest object in our solar device. Its diameter is about 865,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers). Its gravity holds the solar system together, maintaining every little thing from the best planets to the smallest bits of debris in orbit about it.

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Even though the Sun is the center of our solar mechanism and important to our survival, it’s just an average star in regards to its size. Stars approximately 100 times larger have actually been found. And many solar systems have more than one star. By examining our Sun, researchers have the right to much better understand also the wormonarchs of far-off stars.

The hottest component of the Sun is its core, wbelow temperatures peak 27 million °F (15 million °C). The component of the Sun we contact its surface – the photospright here – is a relatively cool 10,000 °F (5,500 °C). In among the Sun’s greatest mysteries, the Sun’s external environment, the corona, gets hotter the farther it stretches from the surchallenge. The corona reaches as much as 3.5 million °F (2 million °C) – much, a lot hotter than the photospright here.

Dec. 2, 2020, marked the 25th anniversary of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO. Due to the fact that its launch, the mission has retained watch on the Sun.Namesake


The Sun has been dubbed by many names. The Latin word for Sun is “sol,” which is the primary adjective for all points Sun-related: solar. Helios, the Sun god in prehistoric Greek mythology, lends his name to many kind of Sun-related terms as well, such as heliospbelow and helioseismology.

Potential for Life

Potential for Life

The Sun can not harbor life as we know it because of its excessive temperatures and radiation. Yet life on Earth is only possible because of the Sun’s light and also energy.

Size and also Distance

Size and Distance

Our Sun is a medium-sized star through a radius of around 435,000 miles (700,000 kilometers). Many kind of stars are much larger – but the Sun is far even more enormous than our house planet: it would take more than 330,000 Earths to enhance the mass of the Sun, and it would take 1.3 million Earths to fill the Sun's volume.

The Sun is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from Earth. Its nearemainder stellar neighbor is the Alpha Centauri triple star system: red dwarf star Proxima Centauri is 4.24 light-years ameans, and Alpha Centauri A and also B – 2 sunprefer stars orbiting each other – are 4.37 light-years away. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, which equals around 6 trillion miles (9.5 trillion kilometers).

Orbit and Rotation

Orlittle bit and Rotation

The Sun is situated in the Milky Way galaxy in a spiral arm called the Orion Spur that extends external from the Sagittarius arm.


This illustration reflects the spiral arms of our Milky Way galaxy. Our Sun is in the Orion Spur. Credit: Chicago/Wesleyan/JPL-Caltechnology | Full inscription and image

The Sun orbits the facility of the Milky Way, bringing via it the planets, asteroids, comets, and other objects in our solar system. Our solar device is relocating with an average velocity of 450,000 miles per hour (720,000 kilometers per hour). But even at this rate, it takes around 230 million years for the Sun to make one finish trip roughly the Milky Way.

The Sun rotates on its axis as it revolves around the galaxy. Its spin has a tilt of 7.25 degrees via respect to the aircraft of the planets’ orbits. Since the Sun is not solid, various components revolve at various rates. At the equator, the Sun spins about as soon as about every 25 Planet days, however at its poles, the Sun rotates when on its axis every 36 Planet days.


As a star, the Sun doesn’t have any type of moons, but the planets and also their moons orlittle bit the Sun.



The Sun would have been surrounded by a disk of gas and dust at an early stage in its background once the solar system was first developing, about 4.6 billion years ago. Some of that dust is still approximately this day, in a number of dust rings that circle the Sun. They trace the orbits of planets, whose gravity tugs dust into place roughly the Sun.



The Sun created about 4.6 billion years ago in a gigantic, spinning cloud of gas and also dust referred to as the solar nebula. As the nebula broke down under its own gravity, it spun quicker and flattened into a disk. Most of the nebula's material was pulled towards the facility to create our Sun, which accounts for 99.8% of our solar system’s mass. Much of the remaining product formed the planets and also other objects that currently orlittle the Sun. (The remainder of the leftover gas and dust was blown away by the young Sun's early on solar wind.)

Like all stars, our Sun will ultimately run out of energy. When it starts to die, the Sun will certainly expand right into a red gigantic star, becoming so big that it will certainly engulf Mercury and Venus, and also perhaps Planet too. Scientists predict the Sun is a little much less than halfway through its life time and also will last an additional 5 billion years or so prior to it becomes a white dwarf.

A 3D model of the Sun, our star. Credit: Visualization Technology Applications and also Advancement (VTAD)› Downfill Options


The Sun is a huge ball of hydrogen and helium held together by its very own gravity.

The Sun has actually numerous regions. The inner areas encompass the core, the radiative zone, and the convection zone. Moving outside – the visible surchallenge or photospright here is following, then the chromospbelow, followed by the transition zone, and then the corona – the Sun’s expansive outer environment.

Once material leaves the corona at supersonic speeds, it becomes the solar wind, which develops a large magnetic "bubble" about the Sun, referred to as the heliospright here. The heliosphere exoften tends beyond the orlittle bit of the planets in our solar mechanism. Hence, Earth exists inside the Sun’s atmosphere. Outside the heliospright here is interstellar area.

The core is the hottest part of the Sun. Nuclear reactions here – wright here hydrogen is fsupplied to form helium – power the Sun’s warmth and light. Temperatures height 27 million °F (15 million °C) and also it’s around 86,000 miles (138,000 kilometers) thick. The thickness of the Sun’s core is around 150 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³). That is about 8 times the thickness of gold (19.3 g/cm³) or 13 times the thickness of lead (11.3 g/cm³).

Energy from the core is lugged outside by radiation. This radiation bounces around the radiative zone, taking around 170,000 years to get from the core to the optimal of the convection zone. Moving exterior, in the convection zone, the temperature drops below 3.5 million °F (2 million °C). Here, huge bubbles of hot plasma (a soup of ionized atoms) move upward towards the photospright here, which is the layer we think of as the Sun's surface.



The Sun doesn’t have a solid surconfront favor Planet and also the various other rocky planets and also moons. The component of the Sun commonly dubbed its surchallenge is the photosphere. The word photospbelow implies "light sphere" – which is apt because this is the layer that emits the the majority of visible light. It’s what we watch from Earth via our eyes. (Hopefully, it goes without saying – yet never before look directly at the Sun without protecting your eyes.)

Although we speak to it the surconfront, the photosphere is actually the first layer of the solar atmosphere. It's around 250 miles thick, via temperatures reaching around 10,000 levels Fahrenheit (5,500 levels Celsius). That's a lot cooler than the blazing core, however it's still hot enough to make carbon – prefer diamonds and also graphite – not simply melt, however boil. Many of the Sun's radiation escapes external from the photospbelow right into room.



Above the photosphere is the chromosphere, the shift zone, and the corona. Not all researchers describe the shift zone as its own area – it is ssuggest the thin layer wbelow the chromosphere quickly heats and also becomes the corona. The photospright here, chromosphere, and corona are all part of the Sun’s setting. (The corona is periodically casually described as “the Sun’s environment,” yet it is actually the Sun’s upper environment.)

The Sun’s setting is wbelow we view features such as sunspots, coronal holes, and solar flares.

Key Sun Features

Visible light from these peak areas of the Sun is usually too weak to be checked out against the brighter photospbelow, yet throughout complete solar eclipses, as soon as the Moon covers the photospbelow, the chromospright here looks choose a fine, red rim roughly the Sun, while the corona forms a beautiful white crvery own ("corona" implies crvery own in Latin and Spanish) with plasma streamers narrowing outward, creating shapes that look favor freduced petals.

In among the Sun’s biggest mysteries, the corona is much hotter than the layers instantly below it. (Imagine walking away from a bonfire only to gain warmer.) The resource of coronal heating is a major unresolved puzzle in the examine of the Sun.



The Sun geneprices magnetic fields that extend out right into space to form the interplanetary magnetic area – the magnetic field that pervades our solar mechanism. The area is carried via the solar system by the solar wind – a stream of electrically charged gas blowing outside from the Sun in all directions. The substantial bubble of area overcame by the Sun’s magnetic field is called the heliospright here. Due to the fact that the Sun rotates, the magnetic area spins out right into a large rotating spiral, known as the Parker spiral. This spiral has actually a form something choose the pattern of water from a rotating garden sprinkler.

The Sun doesn't behave actually the same means all the time. It goes through phases of high and also low task, which consist of the solar cycle. Approximately every 11 years, the Sun’s geographic poles change their magnetic polarity – that is, the north and also southern magnetic poles swap. Throughout this cycle, the Sun's photospright here, chromospbelow, and corona adjust from quiet and also calm to violently active.

The height of the Sun’s task cycle, well-known as solar maximum, is a time of greatly raised solar storm task. Sunspots, eruptions dubbed solar flares, and also coronal mass ejections are widespread at solar maximum. The latest solar cycle – Solar Cycle 25 – began in December 2019 as soon as solar minimum developed, according to the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, an international team of specialists co-sponsored by and also NOAA. Scientists currently expect the Sun’s task to ramp up towards the following predicted maximum in July 2025.

Solar activity can release huge amounts of energy and pshort articles, some of which impact us here on Planet. Much choose weather on Earth, problems in area – recognized as area weather – are always changing via the Sun’s activity. "Space weather" can interfere via satellites, GENERAL PRACTITIONERS, and also radio communications. It likewise have the right to cripple power grids, and corrode pipelines that lug oil and gas.

The strongest geomagnetic storm on document is the Carrington Event, named for British astronomer Rictough Carrington that observed the Sept. 1, 1859, solar flare that motivated the event. Telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set their telegraph paper on fire. Just prior to dawn the following day, skies everywhere Earth erupted in red, green, and also purple auroras – the outcome of power and also particles from the Sun communicating with Earth’s environment. Reportedly, the auroras were so brilliant that newspapers might be review as easily as in daylight. The auroras, or Northern Lights, were visible as much south as Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and also Hawaii.

Another solar flare on March 13, 1989, brought about geomagnetic storms that disrupted electrical power transmission from the Hydro Québec generating station in Canada, plunging 6 million people into darkness for 9 hrs. The 1989 flare additionally brought about power surges that melted power transformers in New Jersey.

In December 2005, X-rays from a solar storm disrupted satellite-to-ground communications and also Global Positioning System (GPS) navigating signals for about 10 minutes.

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center monitors active areas on the Sun and also problems watches, warnings, and advises for hazardous area weather occasions.



Length of day 25 Planet days at the equator and 36 Planet days at the poles.

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Length of year The Sun doesn't have a "year," per se. But the Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way around eextremely 230 million Planet years, bringing the planets, asteroids, comets, and also various other objects via it.

Star type G2 V, yellow dwarf main-sequence star

Surchallenge temperature (Photosphere) 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 levels Celsius)

Corona (solar atmosphere) temperature Up to 3.5 million °F (2 million °C)