The Sun

The Center of Our Solar System!

The Layers of the Sun

There are six layers of the Sun (from outermost to innermost): corona, chromosphere, photosphere, convective zone, radiative zone, and core. The corona is much hotter than the visible surface of the sun and made of highly ionized iron. The chromosphere, which literally means "sphere of color", is not easily visible, but when it is seen it is usually pink or red. Then comes the photosphere, the layer which we see when we look at the sun. The photosphere has a temperature of 4,500 to 6,000 K, and is made of plasma. Then there's the convective zone. The convective zone is a layer made solely of moving plasma. Right below that is the radiative zone, which is where the nuclear fusion energy from the core moves outward as electromagnetic radiation. The energy is conveyed by photons. Finally, the innermost layer is the core. The core is the central region where nuclear reactions consume hydrogen to form helium. In other words, it's where nuclear fusion happens.

Sunspots, Prominences, Flares, and Auroras

There are many phenomena that appear on or due to the sun. They include sunspots, solar prominences, solar flares, and auroras. Sunspots are simply areas of the Sun that are cooler than the rest of the Sun around them. They are easy to spot because they are darker than the areas around them. The number of sunspots on the Sun varies due to an 11-year solar cycle. Solar prominences are large, bright, gaseous features extending outward from the Sun's surface. They are anchored to the Sun by the photosphere, and extend outwards towards the corona. They are made of cool plasma, and sometimes break apart and give rise to coronal mass ejections. Then there's solar flares, which look very similar to solar prominences. However, solar flares and solar prominences are not the same thing. Solar flares are sudden flashes of brightness observed near the Sun's surface. They occur in active regions around sunspots and are often accompanied by a spectacular coronal mass ejection. Finally, there is auroras. These are the only ones of these four that do not appear on or around the Sun's surface or atmosphere. An aurora, or a polar light, is a natural light display in the sky. They are produced when Earth's magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by a solar wind, that the trajectories of charged particles precipitate them into the upper atmosphere of the Earth. There are two common auroras, aurora australis and aurora borealis . Aurora borealis occurs in the north, while aurora australis occurs in the south.
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