The Sun

By: Leah Whaley

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The Core

  • Round because of gravity
  • Is 10% of the sun's mass
  • The most central part is 60% helium
  • Each particle has its own rotation
  • 25% of the sun's radius
  • Temperature reaches over 15 million degrees Celsius (27 million degrees Fahrenheit)
  • The innermost layer
  • Hottest part of the sun and the Solar System
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The Radiative Zone

  • Transmits energy from the core
  • Layer outside of the core
  • Photons come from the core to go through here
  • They take hundreds of thousands of years even though they travel at the speed of light
  • Mostly hydrogen and helium
  • Maintains high temperatures and high pressure
  • Remains in a state of uniform rotation
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The Convection Zone

  • Considered the outer shell
  • Transfers energy faster
  • Is cooler
  • Less dense
  • A region of turbulent plasma
  • Pressure is reduced
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The Photosphere

  • The thinnest layer
  • What we actually see
  • Average temp. of between 6000 C and 4500 C
  • Entirely gaseous
  • No pressure
  • Nothing can land on this layer
  • Transparent to photons of certain waves
  • Emits a continuous radiation spectrum
  • Sunspots are on this layer
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The Chromosphere

  • Least dense layer
  • In the plasma state
  • Gaseous behavior
  • Pressure is low
  • Temperature increases
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The Corona

  • Very light
  • Trapped in the electromagnetic field of the sun
  • Composed of ionized hydrogen and helium
  • During an eclipse a new moon covers the corona
  • A powerful source of extreme ultraviolet and x-ray emissions
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Sunspots

  • Exist in the photosphere
  • The inner regions are darker because they are cooler
  • Direction is established by the sun's magnetic field
  • Will exist where the magnetic field is at its maximum rate
  • Largest can be seen without a telescope
  • A mature one is roughly in the form of a daisy
  • Seen in pairs or groups of pairs of opposite polarity
  • Appear at the start of a sun cycle
  • A sun can have 10 groups and 300 spots
  • One group could have as many as 200 spots
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Prominence

  • Supported by magnetic fields
  • Indicators of sharp field transition
  • Transparent in white light except during solar eclipses
  • Density is much lower than the photosphere
  • Absorb radiation from below and emit it in all directions
  • Temperature is 5,000-50,000 K
  • 2 types: long-lived (quiescent) and transient
  • Long-lived are associated with large-scale magnetic fields
  • They also mark the boundaries of unipolar magnetic regions or sunspot groups
  • Few quiescent prominence live more than a few days
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Flares

  • An abrupt release of magnetic energy from the sunspot region
  • Most flares are almost invisible in ordinary light
  • In white light only a few small bright spots appear
  • Wide range of flare sizes
  • Can be a giant event that showers Earth with particles
  • Can also be a barely detectable brightening
  • Classified by their associated flux of x-rays
  • Kinds of particles produced varies
  • Optical flares occur along neutral lines
  • Main energy release is the acceleration of electrons
  • Most great flares occur in a small number of super active large sunspot groups
  • Because of that the occurrence of flares can be predicted but we cannot predict when
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Auroras

  • Is a display of light in the night sky
  • Are common occurrences at high northern or southern latitudes
  • Usually a milky green color
  • Can be red, blue, violet, pink, or white
  • Can be dim or bright
  • Provoked by energy from the Sun
  • Fueled by electrically charged particles trapped in Earth's magnetic field
  • Can be seen as arcs, bands, or rays
  • Caused by collisions between fast-moving electrons from space with the oxygen and nitrogen in Earth's atmosphere
  • The color depends on which gas is being excited by the electrons and how excited it becomes