So, Just What is the Composition of the Sun?


A solar flare

The Surface of the Sun

A couple of weeks ago, we did a post on 6 incredible pictures of the Sun from space.  Since those pictures are indeed pretty incredible, I’m guessing that by now, you’re asking yourself,  “Just what is the composition of the Sun anyway”?   What could produce such great images?

Those are just the kind of questions we love to answer here at Outer Space Universe!

Let’s begin by talking about what the Sun is.  As we all know, the Sun is a star.  It is at the center of our solar system.  As far as size goes, it has a diameter of about 865,000 miles and has a mass 330,000 times that of the Earth.  It is BIG!

The Sun consists mainly of Hydrogen (73%) and Helium (25%) with Oxygen, Carbon, Iron, Sulfur, Neon, Nitrogen, Silicon, and Magnesium making up the rest.  The Sun is not a solid – it doesn’t have a hard surface like we do here on Earth, rather, it exists in what is called a plasmatic state (an ionized gaseous state).

The Sun
The Sun as Imaged by the Solar Dynamics Observatory

Believe it or not, the Sun’s color is actually white.  We see it as yellow here on Earth because of atmospheric scattering.  The Sun has this color because it is constantly fusing hydrogen nuclei into helium in a process called nuclear fusion.  This process produces an enormous amount of light and heat.  It is what keeps us alive here on Earth! 

Get this…at the core, the Sun fuses around 500 million TONS of Hydrogen each second!  Now you begin to understand why the Sun is so big.  If it consumes that much fuel each second, it has to be enormous to last as long as it has right?  The fact is, the Sun has been around for about 4.5 billion years and is expected to last another 5 billion years before it turns into a Red Giant.  Fortunately, you and I won’t be around to see that because by then, the Earth will be vaporized by the expanding size of the dying Sun.


6 Responses to “So, Just What is the Composition of the Sun?”

  • Nobody says:

    lol i nvr imagined our sun white! very cool. Did you know that maybe in about 5000 years later our planet will DIE because the sun keeps on growing and getting hotter so we may burn up in 5000 years of time :O

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  • somebody says:

    the sun will explod some day not die

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  • me says:

    I dont think the sun is going anywhere, God created it and when he says its time, then it will happen(The word of God)He created everything.

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    Unknown replied:

    Thank you ME imhappy there are people who know of science that believe in God.

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  • Jared says:

    @ somebody The sun will not become super nova and explode because it is not big enough. It will run out of fuel and go dark in so many billion years. Not before it goes from a white dwarf to a red giant and makes the earth uninhabitable!

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  • Random says:

    The sun has not existed for billions of years. It has existed for maybe 5-6 thousand years. Because like that long ago God created it. and the sun is NOT going to “grow”. the sun will do what it is doing now, having tiny eruptions on its surface. and in a few billion years the sun will still exist because God will have turned are horrible world into heaven and all his angles and the few people who were spared from this world will live on it. So Yeah

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