Layers of the Sun

The sun is comprised of many layers that work together to produce energy.

From the Earth, the sun looks rather small. In reality, the diameter of the sun is around 860,000 miles. The Earth can fit around the sun 109 times. It is the closest star to the earth with a distance of 93 million miles. The sun is made of several complex layers, each with its own unique job that ultimately produces energy. This energy controls the Earth’s climate and weather and provides life for all living things on earth.

Core: The Inner Layer

The heat from the core is 15 million degrees Kelvin which translates to roughly 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. Kelvin is a temperature scale that picks up where the Celsius degree ends. The core is comprised of a radiative layer that emits radiation and a convective layer that transfers heat. The heat inside the core causes protons and electrons to rub together creating an energy source for the Sun.

The Radiation Zone

The radiation zone is just outside the core. The function of this layer is to transfer energy from the core to the other layers. The temperature at this layer is cooler than the core at 7 million degrees Fahrenheit causing thermal radiation. This layer has 60 percent mass and 90 percent volume.

The Convection Zone

The convection zone is not dense enough to transmit energy. Instead, this layer moves heat to the surface of the sun where it cools and drops back into the convection zone where it reheats.

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Photosphere Gives the Sun Color

The photosphere is the layer that can be seen from the Earth. The temperature of the photosphere is about 10 million degrees Fahrenheit. The surface of this area can be seen through a telescope.

Chromosphere can be seen during an Eclipse

Above the photosphere is the sun’s solar atmosphere that includes the chromosphere. It is the same diameter as the Earth and is about 35 million degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes the chromosphere can be seen during an eclipse.

Corona: The Outer Layer

The outermost layer is the corona and can be seen during a solar eclipse when the sun is blocked by the moon. This layer is hotter than the surface of the sun.

The sun has many chemical elements but since it is so hot they are in a gaseous state. The color of the sun is actually white, but from Earth, it appears yellow. The sun is so dense that there is no surface. For more information on the sun’s layers and temperatures visit the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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