Monday, 22 September 2014

What Makes Up Our Sun?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about our Sun, and what it is composed of.

The sun is basically a huge ball of hot gases. These gases are changed into energy within the sun's core. The energy is then distributed outward via its interior layers, into the sun's atmosphere, and is then sent into the solar system as heat and light.

Most of the gas, which is around 72% is hydrogen. Nuclear fusion changes hydrogen into various elements. The sun is comprised of around 26% helium and minute amounts of other elements, such as carbon, neon, oxygen, magnesium, nitrogen, silicon and iron.

These are created within the sun's core, which makes up 25% of our sun. Gravitational forces create huge pressures and temperatures inside the core. The average temperature of our sun within this layer is approximately 27 million degrees F. To create helium and energy, Hydrogen atoms are compressed and fused together, this is what is known as nuclear fusion.

The energy, primarily in gamma-ray photons and neutrinos, is taken into the radiative zone. Photons bounce around for around a million years before being passed through the interface layer. Scientists speculate that the sun's magnetic field is created by a magnetic dynamo found in this layer.

The convection zone is the outer layer of the sun's insides. It extends about 125,000 miles deep to the sun's atmosphere. Temperatures are then cooled, sufficiently for heavier ions, like carbon, oxygen, calcium, nitrogen and iron to retain their electrons. This means the material is more opaque and encaptures the heat, creating the plasma to convect.

Convective motion takes the heat to the surface, which is the last layer of the sun's atmosphere. This is the layer where energy is sent out as sunlight. The light passes through each outer layer, before getting to the Earth approximately 8 minutes later.

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