For all the people in this planet, the greatest star is not in Hollywood, it is at the center of our solar system and is called the Sun. The earth is 93 million miles from the Sun and that distance is known as one astronomical unit. All eight planets in our solar system can trace their orbits to the gravitational force of the Sun. The warmth and light, the winds and tides, the nights and days, the year and its seasons, are all the result of the Sun and its enormous life giving power. The Sun is a star as I stated earlier.
It is just one of more than 100 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. If it is true that the universe was born over 13 billion years ago, then our galaxy is certainly a little more than 12 billion years old. Not all the stars in our galaxy are the same age and our Sun is estimated to be about 5 billion years of age.
As the Sun shines under its own power, it does so by energy from nuclear fusion. Only nuclear fusion could produce the massive amount of total energy coming from the Sun and keep it going for billions of years. Near the center of this great furnace, 700 million tons of hydrogen is converted into helium every second and 5 million tons vanish to become pure energy.
Every second, the energy output is equal to the explosion of 92 billion one megaton bombs. You might be wondering how this middle aged star is able to maintain its shape and size. The answer is simple.
The Sun is made of hot gas, but it is also 330,000 times as massive as earth. That kind of gravitational force is able to hold the hot gas together. The hotter the gas and the greater the squeeze from gravity, the higher the pressure gravity draws in and pressure pushes out.
When a certain diameter is reached, the two opposing forces are equal or balanced and the result is a uniform size. How big is the Sun? It is 864,500 miles in diameter, or 109 times as wide as earth. In fact, 1,300,000 earths could fit inside the Sun. That is pretty large I must say. What do such numbers mean? Translate some of this into things or experiences you are familiar with.
How about a commercial jet plane traveling at about 500 miles per hour? If you boarded such a plane and traveled to the center of the earth it would take about eight hours. It would then take another eight hours to reach the other side of our planet. This is based on the known diameter of 8000 miles for earth.
The Sun is so much larger than our planet that it is comparable to the difference in size between a basketball and the head of a pin. The same jet plane would take 72 days to cover the diameter of the Sun. Of course I am only using this example to illustrate the great size of the Sun by comparison to our planet. No vehicle of any description could actually travel through the Sun because the temperature at or near its core is 29 million degrees Fahrenheit. Sunshine is the most powerful force operating in our world today.
Without its warmth we could not live. Without its light, we would descend into everlasting darkness. Without these two blessings of heat and light combined, all the processes of nature would cease. All plant and animal life, including us, is dependant upon the forces that are brought about and controlled by the beneficent rays of the Sun. Without the Sun, no trees, fruit, vegetables or flowers would exist, there would be no life.
The book of Genesis tells us that our Creator gave us two great lights; the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night. God said that it was good, would you not agree? I would agree.
© 2006 -- Adrian Barrett -- Germany | Deutsch Online