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CP Sci 9- 1st Sem.

Gen Chem - 1st Sem.

The Sun's Size, Heat, and Structuresun-lft.gif (4542 bytes)


Key Terms:



Notes: (26.1)

The sun is the most massive body in our solar system.  It is over a million times the size of the Earth.  Though it is so large compared to Earth, it is only moderately sized compared to some larger suns throughout our solar system.  We should not feel inferior though because some day our sun may grow up to be a red giant!


(spaceflightnow.com/news/ n0211/04soho/sun.jpg)


All stars get their energy from a process known as nuclear fusion.  Nuclear fusion is the combining of the lighter nuclei of small atoms to make larger elements.

bullet4 hydrogen (4amu) = 1 helium (4amu) + energy

Proton-Proton Net Reaction


(www.opencourse.info/.../ proton-proton_net.gif)



In order to accomplish fusion there must be enormous energy present.  The sun's mass, heat, and pressure supply enough energy for the atoms to exist in a plasma state.

Layers of the Sun

The layers of the sun, although not clearly visible, have been proposed by physicist based on a model supported by collected data.

bulletH & He plasma
bulletMost dense matter in the solar system
bullet~ 15,600,000 oC
bulletRadioactive zone
bulletless dense and cooler plasma layer
bulletplace of fission
bullet ~8,000,000oC
bulletConvection zone
bullettransition zone carrying excess energy to the surface
bullet~1,500,00 oC
bulletvisible layer of the sun
bulletforms granules (prominent extensions)
bulletmuch cooler 
bullet ~6,000 oC
bulletinner layer of the sun's atmosphere
bulletplace where heated hydrogen emits light
bullet~20,000 oC
bulletOuter atmosphere of the sun
bulletnot as bright as the chromosphere but very hot
bullet~1,000,000 - 2,000,000 oC

(www.windows.ucar.edu/spaceweather/ images/Sun_layers.jpg)

Features of the Sun

bulletdark spots on the sun's photosphere
bulletlast a few days to a few months
bulletmagnetic field is ~1000 times stronger than surrounding area
bulletonly appear dark due to the brightness of surrounding areas
bulletappear every 25 - 34 days providing evidence of the sun's rotation

sunturn20.gif (40100 bytes)

(science.msfc.nasa.gov/ ssl/pad/solar/surface.htm)


Solar wind
bulletlarge currents of electrons and protons emitted from the sun's corona
bulletmassive gusts create coronal holes as large amounts of radioactive particles escape
bulletgreater surrounding sunspots and the occurrence of solar flares
bulletwe are protected by Earth's magnetic field which deflects the particles
bulletAuroras are polar manifestations of the interaction of our magnetic fields and the solar wind


(www.sdsc.edu/GatherScatter/GSfall96/ images/jackson2.gif)


(stp.gsfc.nasa.gov/missions/ timed/timed.13.jpg)    (www.pnl.gov/er_news/ 04_98/flare.jpg)

(www.southpole.com/headlines/images/ io4/magnetosphere.gif)

see caption

(science.nasa.gov/.../y2002/images/ starshine2/auroras.jpg)

see caption















Last modified: January 27, 2005