Introduction

The Sun

The Sun is the closest star to Earth and is the center of our solar system. It is a giant, spinning ball of very hot gas. The Sun produces energy. When you feel hot on a warm summer day you are feeling some of the Sun's energy which gets to Earth as light. It keeps our planet warm enough for life to exist. The center of the Sun, called the core, is where the energy is made. The Sun's energy is made by nuclear fusion reactions. The energy travels outwards from the core. It takes millions of years for the energy to get to the surface of the Sun.

The Sun is also an active star with sunspots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections. These storms on the Sun, can release radiation and powerful magnetic fields into space. Sometimes the radiation and magnetic fields come towards Earth and can influence our planet. Storms can be only a few minutes long or might be as long as several hours or days. Radiation from storms can be dangerous for astronauts and can damage and destroy satellites. Sometimes electrical power is disturbed by powerful solar storms. But the solar storms are not just destructive. They also create the beautiful aurora lights (the Northern and Southern Lights) in Earth's upper atmosphere.

Remember! Never look directly at the Sun!

(Image: Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory)

Fun Facts About the Sun!

What Happens When the Sun's Energy gets into our Atmosphere?

All About the Greenhouse Effect

Make an Aurora Flip Book!