The Sun

By: Harry Sewell

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Corona

A faintly luminous envelope outside of the sun's chromosphere, the inner part consisting of highly ionized elements.

Chromosphere

A scarlet, gaseous envelope surrounding the sun outside the photosphere, from which enormous quantities of hydrogen and other gases are erupted.

Photosphere

The luminous visible surface of the sun, being a shallow layer of strongly ionized gases.

Convective Zone

A region of turbulent plasma between a star's core and its visible photosphere at the surface, through which energy is transferred by convection. In the convection zone, hot plasma rises, cools as it nears the surface, and falls to be heated and rise again.

Radiative Zone

The layer of a star that lies just outside the core, to which radiant energy is transferred from the core in the form of photons. In this layer, photons bounce off other particles, following fairly random paths until they enter the convection zone. Despite the high speed of photons, it can take hundreds of thousands of years for radiant energy in the Sun's radiative zone to escape and enter the convection zone

Core

The innermost part of the Sun, where energy is generated by nuclear reactions.

Sunspots

One of the relatively dark patches that appear periodically on the surface of the sun and affect terrestrial magnetism and certain other terrestrial phenomena.

Prominence

An eruption of a flamelike tongue of relatively cool, high-density gas from the solar chromosphere into the corona where it can be seen during a solar eclipse or by observing strong spectral lines in its emission spectrum.

Solar Flare

A brief powerful eruption of particles and intense electromagnetic radiation from the sun's surface, associated with sunspots and causing disturbances to radio communication on earth

Aurora

A radiant emission from the upper atmosphere that occurs sporadically over the middle and high latitudes of both hemispheres in the form of luminous bands, streamers, or the like, caused by the bombardment of the atmosphere with charged solar particles that are being guided along the earth's magnetic lines of force.