Sun Facts – Top 6 Interesting Facts About The Sun

The mysterious facts about the sun – the only star of the solar system will always be a riddle to be solved. From the dawn of human civilization on Earth, our ancestors knew that why is the sun important for our livelihood.

I mean, without the energy from the sun that we get as sunlight; life on earth will cease to exist. In other words, suppose, just a day after tomorrow; the sun just vanishes from the sky. Can you imagine what will happen to us?

Oh boy, I want to scare you or anybody. Don’t worry it won’t happen any time soon. But, I can assure you that it will happen one day, not today, not tomorrow, not after week or year; but surely someday.

Therefore, I will also be discussing this bizarre facts about the sun in the later section. So just sit tight. And enjoy the ride. Let’s dive inside the sun….!!!

 

Sun Facts – Top 6 Interesting Facts About The Sun

Well, I could have picked 10 facts about the sun or even more. But, out of all of those, I will give you the Top 6 MIND-BOGGLING Facts About The Sun; handpicked by me. I hope you will like my collection.

  1. How Did The Sun Get Its Name?
  2. The Sun Is Tidally-Locked With Mercury.
  3. What Is The Sun Made Of?
  4. How Old Is The Sun?
  5. Sun Won’t Become A Black Hole.
  6. Once The Sun Was Not The Center Of The Solar System.

 

How Did The Sun Get Its Name?

Not to mention; for different civilizations, the sun in the solar system has been called by different names. Surprisingly, whatever name the sun gets, its meaning never changes. I will tell you how.

 

Indian View

Well, as I hail from India. So at first, I will give an explanation as per the Indian perspective on how did the sun get its name. According to the sacred Indian scriptures, in Sanskrit; the word sun is equivalent to Surya. In other words, You can say that the sun in Hindi is famously known as Surya.

panoramic-view-of-konark-sun-temple
Konark Sun Temple – devoted to the worshipping of Surya Dev (Sun God)/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As per Indian culture, Surya is the solar deity. In fact, If you know about yoga, there is a proper exercise named “Surya namaskar” especially devoted to Lord Surya or simply Surya Dev.

The word Surya (Sun) symbolizes the one who empowers knowledge, justice, and simply the dispeller of darkness.

Also read, Why We Celebrate Maha Shivaratri (Shiva Festival)

 

Western View

If I talk about ancient Sumerians, they identified the sun with Utu – the god of justice. In fact, he was also the twin brother of the goddess Innana – the goddess of planet venus. To know more interesting facts about venus, you can check this article. I am sure you will love it.

In a similar fashion, ancient Egyptian people worshiped the sun as the god Ra – god of the sun, kings, and, the sky. On the other hand, if I talk about modern times, the word sun is derived from an old English word called SUNNE.

Surprisingly, the Latin name for the Sun is exactly similar to the scientific name for the sun i.e SOL. Sunday or Ravivaar (Ravi is a synonym of Surya and Vaar is a day) is also regarded as the day of the sun (Surya).

 

The Sun Is Tidally-Locked With Mercury

The next one in the list of my top 6 interesting facts about the sun is that the sun is tidally-locked with mercury. Yup, you heard me right. Seriously, I am not lying to you. Trust me. Okay, check it on google if you don’t believe in me.

The sun is tidally-locked with mercury in a similar fashion our earth and moon are tidally-locked with each other. Oh boy, don’t you know that. Okay, you can check this article to know more about tidal locking or synchronous rotation and its drawbacks.

According to the research papers published by the scientific community; just because the sun is tidally-locked with mercury, the closest planet to the sun does not have an atmosphere of its own.

 

What Is The Sun Made Of?

Well, what is in the sun anyway? The sun – an almost perfect sphere of super-hot plasma is principally made up of hydrogen and helium.

Though, there are other elements in the sun too; that constitute the composition of the sun. But, their presence is almost negligible as compared to the availability of hydrogen and helium.

If I talk in terms of the percentage-wise composition of the sun, the hydrogen accounts for a whopping 74.9 percent of the mass of the sun.

false-depiction-of-nuclear-fusion-of-hydrogen-into-helium
just because of the nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium, we are getting energy from the sun to survive on earth/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On the other hand, helium accounts for 23.8 percent of the mass of the sun. Therefore, in total, hydrogen, and helium (lighter elements) account for 98.7 percent of the sun’s mass. MIND-BLOWN.

And, all the other elements of the sun (heavy elements) like carbon, neon, oxygen, iron, etc, compositely accounts for less than 1.3 percent of the mass of the sun.

Similarly, if I talk in terms of the atomic structure of the sun, the sun is made up of 91 percent of hydrogen and 8.9 percent of helium. Therefore, you can say that the source of energy of the sun is nothing but hydrogen and helium.

 

How Old Is The Sun?

The next one in the list of my list of top 6 interesting facts about the sun is the age of the sun. Ahem, any idea….!!!!

If I talk in terms of human perception of years; the sun as a star is like a middle-aged guy. In other words, I can say that currently, the sun is in its prime.

According to the big bang theory, our sun is approximately 4.6 billion years old. Surprisingly, if I compare the age of the sun with the age of the universe i.e 13.8 billion years; The sun was born when the universe was itself 9.2 billion years old.

Recommended, Not Again, Now We Have New Age Of The Universe

Meaning, at that time, the universe was cooling rapidly. Therefore, it was the perfect time for the formation of a star. The principle behind the formation of a star is actually quite simple and easy to understand. In our case, I am referring to the sun as a star.

 

How Was The Sun Formed?

image-of-pillars-of-creation
Hubble telescope image known as Pillars of Creation, where stars are forming in the Eagle Nebula/Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

See, when an interstellar gas cloud, or simply a giant nebula collapse under its own gravity, a star is born. Obviously, in our case, the sun is born.

As a result of the gravitational collapse of the giant nebula, the core of the remnant nebula’s temperature surpasses the threshold required to trigger the nuclear fusion reaction. Hence a star is born.

In fact, you would be baffled to know that the temperature required to trigger the nuclear reaction is more than 15 million kelvin. MIND-BLOWN. Well, whatever is born, must die someday. And with that, I have reached the point where I can talk about the death of a star.

 

Sun Won’t Become A Black Hole

Yup. It’s true. I am neither joking nor lying. It’s 100 percent verified truth that the sun won’t become a black hole. But, I am rather sure that the only star of the solar system will eventually become a white dwarf. I will tell you why…!!!

Well, it’s solely because of its stellar mass. Yup. Again, you heard me right. I mean, in my view; the physics of the sun is not as hard as it seems to be. See, the funda is quite clear. For a star to become a black hole, its mass should be above 29.0 solar masses.

Similarly, for a star to become a neutron star, its mass should be in the range of 10.0 to 29.0 solar masses. At last, for a star to become a dwarf star, its mass should be in the range of 0.07 to 10.0 solar masses.

an-artistic-representation-of-a-supermassive-black-hole
An artistic representation of a supermassive black hole that our sun will never become because of its small size/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Since we know that the mass of the sun is 1 solar mass. Therefore, from the above classification, now it is clear that the sun comes in the category of becoming a dwarf star (of course, after its nuclear fuel is exhausted).

But the matter of fact is that there are so many different types of dwarf stars like a white dwarf, yellow dwarf, red dwarf, brown dwarf, and the hypothetical black dwarf.

I mean, how we are gonna know what’s the ultimate fate of the sun when it will eventually run out of its nuclear fuel.

 

Fate Of The Sun

Well, I can’t explain each and every detail about the journey of a star (sun) to a white dwarf. You can read this article for a detailed explanation. Here, I will give you a short and crisp explanation.

See, for a star to be called a star, it should be able to execute a stellar fusion reaction in its core. Currently, the sun comes in the category of the main-sequence star or G-type main-sequence star.

In other words, Sun is fusing hydrogen into helium in its core. When the core of a star (sun) will run out of its hydrogen fuel, it will start to fuse helium into heavy elements via the triple-alpha process.

a-white-dwarf-during-its-formation-period
A white Dwarf During its formation period/Credit: NASA

Due to the triple-alpha process, the temperature of the core of the sun will exponentially increase. Hence, as a result, the surface of the sun will expand enough to consume all the terrestrial planets including earth; becoming a giant red dwarf.

And, when the sun will eventually run out of its helium fuel, the sun’s outer layer of helium and hydrogen will blast off into a supernova; leaving behind a tiny white dwarf.

Related, Chandrasekhar Limit – Death warrant Of White dwarf

But you don’t need to worry. I mean, it will take more than 5 billion years from now for the sun to become a white dwarf. So chill. Plus one more thing. At this instant, the sun is a type of yellow dwarf.

 

Once The Sun Was Not The Center Of The Solar System

The very last one in the list of my top 6 interesting facts about the sun is that once the sun was not the center of the solar system. I think I confused you here. Okay. Let me explain.

As per the current cosmological model of the universe; we are living in the heliocentric model of the universe. But, there was a time before the Copernican revolution or so-called scientific revolution; when the whole world believed in the geocentric model of the solar system or Universe.

Aristotelian Universe
An artistic representation of the 15th-century model of the universe heavily influenced by Aristotelian Universe/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In the Aristotelian view, Earth is the center of the universe, not the sun. In fact, in Aristotle model of the universe or the so-called earth-centered universe; not only the earth is the center of the universe. But also, all the stars, planets, sun, and all the heavenly bodies revolve around the earth.

But, after the arrival of the heliocentric model of the solar system; this geocentric model became one of the so many obsolete cosmological theories of the universe.

Apart from Aristotelian Cosmology, there are so many other cosmological theories of the universe that has become obsolete now. You can read this article for further knowledge about the Top 6 obsolete cosmological models of the universe.

 

Other Facts About The Sun

Apart from the above-mentioned top 6 interesting facts about the sun, I am mentioning some more common information about the sun below.

  1. The sun accounts for 99.86 percent of the mass of the solar system.
  2. Over one million earth could easily fit inside the sun.
  3. Light from the Sun takes approximately 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach Earth.
  4. The Sun rotates in the opposite direction to Earth.
  5. The Sun rotates more quickly at its equator compared to its poles.
  6. The distance between the Sun and the Earth changes throughout the year.
  7. So on….!!!

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my carrier, and therefore I just completed my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as like ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every part of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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