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The sun and solar energy

"Solar radiation provides usable energy all year round with solar panels installed to your home. The United Kingdom receives 60% of radiation compared with the equatorial regions and equivalent to over a 2000 power stations."

The sun is a photosphere.

The sun's Interior

Quick fact - Each square metre of the UK receives between 900-1200 kWh a year.

In a nutshell.

Our sun belongs to a category of star commonly known as a fixed star; in the night sky, we see billions of them in our universe. At the core of our solar system, our own star has influenced life on earth in many ways. Humanity will have to harness this energy for its long-term energy needs if our civilisation is going to survive peak oil.

The sun is made up of hydrogen and helium gases.

Our sun is also known as a Photo-spherical. Photo means light and Photons are the particles emitted, then hit and power our space technology. Solar panels use radiating the sun's energy to charge a chemical process within the cells to produce electricity.

The Interior - The sun's Inward regions.
The Photosphere - The visible surface of the sun.
The Chromosphere - The atmosphere.
The Transition Region - The point at which particles leave the sun.
The Corona - The aurora of the sun's surface.
The Solar Wind - The ejected solar particles.
The Heliosphere - The full reach of the solar wind.

The sun's Rotation

Quick facts.

  1. Our sun is classed as a medium-sized yellow dwarf.
  2. The sun is 93,000,000 miles away from the surface of the Earth.
  3. The sun's life expectancy is at least another 5 billion years before ballooning to a red giant and thus, consuming the inner planets.
  4. sunlight or rather photon particles travel at 186,282 miles per second.
  5. The sun produces various wavelengths of light which can be seen in a rainbow.
  6. sunlight takes about eight minutes to reach us.
  7. The sun is made up of hydrogen and helium gases. More exotic elements such as metallic's created upon its death called a supernova explosion.

Sunshine on a cloudy day.

What is the solar wind made of?

The sun is a giant ball of Hydrogen and helium gas, mixed together creating a nuclear fusion reaction that has been burning for around 4.6 billion years. This has bombarded our region of space and ultimately the Earth with the wind, which is captured and used by life on earth.

The sun or photosphere, reaches temperatures at the heart of up to 1-2 million degrees Celsius, however, this is only an estimate because the actual temperature cannot be verified, due to the incredibly high numbers involved. The sun's corona or atmosphere temperatures reach approximately 6,000 degrees Kelvin.

Our sun is just a ball of gas with a diameter of 1,392,000,000 Km, which in galactic terms is a very conservative measurement. Nuclear fusion powers each and every sun. This process is hydrogen converted into helium, with a consequence being "Photo" light ejected into space. Within the emitted light are x-rays, ultraviolet radiation and radio waves, which put together produce the warmth all life is so dependent.

The solar winds are streams of energy packed particles ejected from the sun's corona. These particles are made up of electrons and photons, along with alpha particles containing atomic nuclei such as helium and heavy ions of carbon, oxygen, neon and metallic's like magnesium. Experiments by satellites which catch particles in the wind have detected tiny amounts of potassium, titanium and nickel too. The solar wind is far more exotic than we ever imagined.

Solar energy for the Earth

The sun's energy as a major supplier of our civilisation's energy source is becoming a more and more urgent task. Solar panels are already in place, but a major change in governmental and social attitudes towards these essential technologies are only recently beginning to change.

Measurements done at the South Pole show stronger radiation levels at the poles compared to the equator, which is why we see the northern lights (Aurora Borealis). The solar wind is a constant flow of photo radiation and has allowed the earth to flourish through photosynthesis by plants. Variations in the wind are caused by the sun's weather, which is as varied as our own atmosphere, weather systems.

The northern lights have inspired poetry and art within civilisation. There's no evident link, but some people claim that even the 1960s cultural boom, the length of miniskirts and even the performance of stocks and shares are affected by sun' spots on the sun.

The solar radiation map for the UK and Europe. As you can see, the UK gets high levels of radiation, which can be used for domestic energy.

Putting solar energy to use

The sun's outer shroud contains most of the sun's matter, just like the Earth's atmosphere, the solar winds constant emissions of particles and energy can be captured and used with technology.

With PV electric panels, a chemical reaction occurs within the cells, causing an electric current to be produced.

In contrast, solar heating panels are another way of gathering radiation to heat water. Both panel types are an effective way of putting the sun's energy to use.

Inside the sun

Solar weather takes place within the outer magnetic field was sun spot's form. The hot corona causes solar flares which cause the solar wind to travel through space towards the outer solar system. The supply of nuclear fusion within the sun will last for 10 billion years (give or take a billion).

The solar wind ejected from the sun, fifty five percent of particles penetrate the earths atmosphere.

The particles reach the Earth within eight minutes of leaving the sun's surface. A reliable and constant source of energy rains down on the Earth every day.

The sun's fusion cycle, begins with neutron particles which are created at the center of the central ball. These particles will be ejected without resistance to the sun's atmosphere and will continue outward into deep space when ejected by mass ejection flares, or bombarding objects like our Earth.

Particles actually reach the Earth within eight minutes from leaving the sun's surface.

sun spots have been connected to coronal mass ejection events and can be seen with the naked eye using protection with a filtering glass. You see a round disk, which is less bright at the edges than the middle.

The sun's structure and core

The sun's interior is segmented into four levels. Energy is generated within the core whilst the innermost diffuses mostly gamma-rays and x-rays through the radioactive zone by convection. Fluid flows are boiled through to the outermost layers and the thinner interface layer, also known as the Tachocline, is where the sun's magnetic field is thought to be generated.

The temperature at the very center of the sun's core is around 15,000,000° C (27,000,000 ° F) and the density is about 150 g/cm³ which are 10 times the density of gold or lead. Both temperatures and density decrease as one moves outwards towards the outer layers of the sun.

Solar cycles and climate change

People say, over the last century, the number of sun' spots has risen at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer. Looking at isotopes of Beryllium concentrations from ice cores around the world, the strength of the solar wind and the amount of Beryllium in the ice at different times in the past can be used to determine the state of the sun and, roughly, the number of sun' spots.

Over the last century, the number of sun' spots has remained roughly constant, and the average temperature of the Earth has continued to increase. There is no doubt scientifically that it is down to man-made activities causing a greenhouse effect caused by the combustion of fossil fuels.

Quick facts about the sun and radiation energy

Four hydrogen atoms fuse to make one helium atom. The loss of atomic matter (photons) is flung into space and hits the earth providing light and heat. Many bygone civilizations worshipped the sun, including the Aztecs, Mayans, Native Americans and Egyptians.

How quick does the sun rotate?

The sun rotates on an axis of once every 27 days. The sun's rotation was detected by observing the motion of sunspots in the photosphere region. The rotation axis is tilted by 7.50 degrees compared to the axis of the Earth, so we can see more of the sun's North Pole regions in September and more of the South Pole regions in March.

Does the sun make a noise as it burns?

The sun does not emit noises like a fire crackles, but it does not burn either. The heat and the light produced comes from nuclear fusion reactions millions of times more energetic than chemical combustion. The surface turbulence of the sun does make sound, in the sense of rhythmic changes in the density and surface disturbances of the sun.

Academically known as acoustical waves, these typically have a frequency of around 0.005 Hertz, and take over three minutes to complete a cycle. If we could somehow arrange to listen in directly, the roar of the sun's nuclear furnace would be far too low a frequency for human hearing. The lowest frequency we can hear is 20hz.

Tell me about binary star systems

Around a quarter, of stars we see exist as binary systems. Only one planet hasn't been found in such a binary star system, but it is possible to calculate theoretical, the planetary range of such a system. When the stars gravitate closer, the orbits distort, and their planets flung off into deep space.


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