REGARDING OUR VERY OWN STAR: THE SUN
We are going through very heartbreaking times. As we continue to see increases in the spread of the corona virus, we are likely to overlook the wonderful things all around us. Consider this:
On a clear night we are able to see thousands of stars shining above. Each star is a nuclear furnace. Most stars are busy crushing hydrogen atoms, creating helium atoms and releasing incredible amounts of energy in the process. Our sun is an example of this sort of star.
We are lucky to have the sun. It is a steady star, shining and energizing our Solar System at a steady rate. Many stars are variable, shining brightly for a while, then dimming down and finally brightening up again. If our sun was like that, life would be impossible, or extremely difficult, because we would alternately fry and freeze.
Since the sun is essential for us, I think it is essential to think about it. Every fact about the sun is mind-boggling. Prepare to boggle your mind.
To make light energy, the sun, each second, converts 600 million tons of hydrogen into 595 million tons of helium. The 5 million tons of lost mass are converted into light energy in the core of the sun. the processes of conversion are quite complicated. I do not claim to understand it.
It takes about 100,000 years for the light energy to get from the core to the sun’s surface. The sunlight we feel on our face is very old. We are so fortunate to experience it.
Would you believe it? The earth gets only a very small part of all the light that the sun puts out. If you divide the sun’s total light energy by one billion (1,000,000,000) parts, earth would only receive one-half of that one-billionth part.
That is because the earth is 93 million miles from the sun. We are just a tiny speck at that distance. We are only a tiny target for the light energy to land on.
By human standards, our sun is huge. It is 864,400 miles in diameter. Its diameter could accommodate 109 earths. You could pack 1.3 million earths into its volume.
But the sun, of course, is awfully hot. At the surface, it is 11,000 F. degrees. At the core, where nuclear processing takes place, it is estimated to be 30,000,000 F. degrees.
Here is a strange coincidence: the core of the earth is 11,000 F. degrees. That is about the same temperature as the surface of the sun, 11,000 F. degrees. Is there some connection?
I have no clue.
In short, we are living in a system with all “moving parts” working just right. The sun puts out the required energy. We are at the right distance from the sun for life to thrive. By a series of wonderful events, we are here and we have life.
Enjoy your life, but please take special care in this crisis. Please do not look at the sun directly unless you have solar glasses or you have a specially-made solar filter.