The Sun

Science Lesson: 97

The sun is the centre of our solar system. It is made up of 98% hydrogen and helium and 2% other heavy materials like iron and carbon.  The sun’s diameter is approximately 109 earths stacked on top of one another or 865,000 miles, and it would take 1,000,000 earths to equal the volume or mass of the sun.

The sun is made of three different layers.  The inner layer is called the core and is the source of power for the sun, it sends photon waves into the next layer.  The second layer is called the radiative zone and it transmits the photon waves through itself to the next layer, and then to the outer layer which is called the convective zone which is separated from the radiative zone by a line called the Tachocline.  The convective zone sends the photons outwards in a circular convection motion, and deep down in the convective zone you have plasma and hot energy expanding and rising as it heats up and then comes back down as it cools off.  With those currents they make energy come to the surface.

Around the sun is the photosphere, which is the light that is emitted outward.

Outside of the photosphere is the sun’s atmosphere.

The sun’s atmosphere consists of:

  • The temperature minimum
  • The chromosphere: which is the pinkish layer you see when there is a total eclipse.
  • The transition region
  • the corona (not the virus): the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere which you can see during a total solar eclipse.
  • The heliosphere: known as the solar wind and goes past all the planets as a bubble like region of space.

The sun’s surface is covered with cells known as supergranules and each cell is about the size of the earth.  In each cell are smaller cells called granules that rise to the top as they heat up and fall when they cool.


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