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How was the Sun created?

  • How was the Sun created?

    The Sun Our solar system is made up of the Sun, eight planets, three dwarf planets and many asteroids, comets and other space rocks. The Sun is the largest object in the solar system and is located right at its centre. The planets, dwarf planets, asteroids and comets travel around the Sun in an ellipse. Our solar system was formed about 5 billion years ago, and the surface of the Sun is about 4.6 billion years old.

    How was the Sun created? A Before it was formed, the Sun and the rest of the solar system was a huge mass of hot gas and dust called a solar nebula. This nebula spun faster and faster until the clouds of gases, dust and ice particles clumped together and exploded, forming the sun. Q Why does the Sun glow? A The Sun is made up of huge amounts of hydrogen and helium gases. Nuclear reactions at the centre of the Sun emit a large amount of energy that makes the Sun glow. That same energy travels through space and reaches us as heat and light. Q What is a solar eclipse? A A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth, blocking the Sun from our view. In a total solar eclipse, the Moon blocks out the Sun from our view completely. In a partial eclipse, however, a part of the Sun is visible. During an annular eclipse, we can see a small ring of the Sun glowing around the Moon. When the Moon is nearer to the Earth it appears larger and therefore covers the Sun completely, although it is actually much smaller than the Sun. However, in an annular eclipse the Moon is too far away from the Earth to block the Sun out totally and therefore a ring of sunlight is seen. Q What is a solar flare? A Sometimes the Sun produces a huge amount of magnetic energy that sends out jets of gas into space. These jets of gas are called solar flares and cause a sudden increase in the brightness of the Sun. Solar flares are often followed by the release of electrically charged particles like protons and electrons. These are called solar winds and are known to travel at a speed of about 500 kilometres (300 miles) per second. Flaring up! Solar flares on the surface of the Sun. Solar flares were observed for the first time in 1859. Blocking the Sun In an annular (ring-shaped) eclipse, the Moon covers only the middle portion of the Sun, causing a bright ring of light to appear around the Moon. GrBigBk_Q_A 006-025.qxd 21/5/07 12:13 pm Page 10 In different directions! The Sun takes about 26 days on average to rotate on its axis. Since it is made up of gas, different parts of the Sun rotate at different speeds. The surface closest to the equator rotates faster than that closest to the polar regions. The Sun’s surface near the poles takes almost 36 days to complete one rotation. Surface of the Sun There is constant activity visible on the surface of the Sun, as it pulses and glows due to the heat and light produced by the nuclear reactions within.