The Sun is a ball of hot gases. By weight, it is 70 percent hydrogen; 28 percent helium; 1.5 percent carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen; and 0.5 percent other elements. The Sun's temperature is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface and 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit at the center. The average distance from Earth to the sun is 93,000,000 miles. Light travels in 8 1/2 minutes from the sun to Earth. The diameter of the sun is 870,000 mile: 109 times larger than Earth's. Its volume is big enough to hold over 1 million Earths.

The Sun gives us heat, light, food, and the air that we breathe. It powers the atmosphere to give us the wind and rain. Even the coal and oil that generate electricity for light and power come from plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago and depended on the Sun for life. The sun heats the land, oceans, and air. It evaporates water from lakes and oceans. When the water vapor cools, it drops as rain or snow, giving us the moisture we need for drinking water, and for plants and animals to grow. Green plants use the sun's rays to turn carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates. At the same time, the plants release oxygen that we use to breathe. The production of carbohydrates by green plants is called photosynthesis. The carbohydrates that plants form are used by them to grow, and we, in turn, use plants for our nourishment. Without the Sun, Earth would be a dark, cold, and dead place.

Wedding Ring

The final burst of light as the Moon's shadow slides over the sun's disk resembles a diamond wedding ring.

Bailey's Beads

The bright spots along the edges of the nearly covered Sun are known as Bailey's Beads. They are created by the last direct light from the Sun shining through valleys in the Moon's mountains.


 



Phases of a total
eclipse over 3 hours



Solar flare at totality



Wedding Ring



Bailey's Beads

     

 

 

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