Our Sun

The star that keeps us alive

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The Layers of the Sun

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The Core

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Temperature: 15,000,000 degrees Celsius

Function: Power house of the sun. This is where 99% of the Sun's fusion power comes from.

Identifying characteristics: extremely dense and hot. The core is the innermost layer of the sun. It is where most of the energy for the sun is created. It is contains about 34% of the Sun's mass, but only 8% of it's volume.

Radiative Zone

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Temperature: 2,000,000 degrees Celsius

Function: The Radiative zone of the Sun is an area in which the energy that is created in the core is transported to the rest of the sun through radiation.

Other Facts: Second layer from the core. Atoms can bounces around in the radiative zone for up to 1 million years until they get to the convection zone.

The convective zone

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Temperature: 2,000,000 million degrees Celsius at the bottom, but around 5,700 degrees Celsius at the surface.
Function: The convective zone is boiling, turbulent, rotates and generates magnetic fields.

The Photosphere

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Temperature: 5,730 °C
Function: The photosphere is the surface of the sun. It is what is shown in pictures of the sun. It is a gas layer about 100 km thick.
Other facts: This is the layer that we are most familiar with. It is what we see when we look at the sun (don't look directly at the sun)! It is the thinnest layer of the sun. It is constantly changing.

The Chromosphere

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Temperature: 6,000-50,000 degrees Celsius
Function: Located above the photosphere. Unlike other things in the solar system, the chromosphere gets hotter the farther away from the sun. Scientists don't completely understand this yet, but they think that the cause for this is because of magnetohydrodyamic waves.

Corona

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Temperature: 1,000,000-2,000,000 K

Function: The corona is a aura of plasma around the sun that has very high temperatures. It expands millions of miles from the sun. It can only really be seen during a solar eclipse or with a coronagraph. Do not look directly at a solar eclipse without protection for your eyes!

Sunspots

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Sunspots are darker, cooler spots of the sun that are temporary. They are caused by interactions with the sun's magnetic field that is not completely understood by scientists yet. They form over places of intense magnetic activity. When the pressure builds up from this they can have large mass ejections and solar storms.

Prominence

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Solar prominence's are arcs of gas that extend above the sun's surface. They can extend hundreds of thousands of miles into space. They stay above the Sun's surface because of the magnetic field. They can stay there for a few months before going away.

Solar Flares

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Solar flares are magnetic storms on the sun that release charged particles into space. They appear to be very bright spots on the surface of the sun. The Earth's magnetic field usually shields us from the high-energy particles launched form the sun during a solar flare, but if it is strong enough, it can interfere with radio signals and damage satellites.
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An aurora is a natural light display in the sky, usually of greenish color but sometimes red or blue. Aurora is caused by the collision of energetically charged particles with atoms in the high altitude thermosphere within our atmosphere.