There exist billions of stars in the sky. Among them, the Sun is the closest to the earth. The sun lies in the middle of the solar system. It makes one rotation every 27 days. Formed about 4.5 billion years ago, it is assumed to be in its midlife. It is expected to continue shining for about five billion more years.
Photosphere is the name given to the surface of the sun. The temperature at the core of the sun is 15.7 million K, a lot hotter than the photosphere’s 5,778 K. This energy is produced via a nuclear reaction called nuclear fusion. During this process, two hydrogen nuclei bond to make one helium nucleus. This process involves release of energy.
The distance from the Earth to the sun is 149.6 million kilometers. The diameter of the sun is 1.392 million kilometers. It has an equatorial circumference of 4.379 million kilometers. These measurements represent 109 times the corresponding measurements of the earth. The sun has a surface area of 6.0877 trillion kilometer squared, about 11,990 times that of the earth. It has a volume 1.3 million times that of earth.
The energy from the sun is called solar energy. It is received by the earth through radiation. Since only a fraction of the radiated energy can be absorbed by our planet, a lot of it is reflected back to space. Life on earth depends on the absorbed energy. It is also responsible for our weather, tides and the water cycle.
Plants use solar energy to make their own food, through a process called photosynthesis. This is the basic process that makes food available to all other living things. The sun is also responsible for the energy stored in fossils, as well as petroleum and coal.
Providing unlimited light and heat, the sun is the main source of energy to the earth. Extra applications of solar energy include lighting, generating electricity and in enhancing growth of plants in green houses. Considering all these factors, it is true to say that there can be no life on earth without the sun.
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