Posts Tagged ‘Sunburn’

Know the Sun to stop the Sun

3 July, 2009

I wonder if we will ever get to see the Sun like this.

Author: Hinode JAXA/NASA

This image of the Sun was taken by Hinode‘s Solar Optical Telescope on January 12, 2007 and reveals the filamentary nature of the plasma connecting regions of different magnetic polarity on the surface of the Sun.

Hinode (ひので, Japanese: “Sunrise”; English pronunciation: hee-no-day), formerly known as Solar-B, is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Solar mission with USA and the United Kingdom. Hinode is on a planned three-year mission to explore the magnetic fields of the Sun. It consists of a coordinated set of optical, Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV), and X-Ray instruments to investigate the interaction between the Sun’s magnetic field and its corona.

There’s so much we don’t know about our very own Sun.

Which explains why there are several missions launched to study the Sun. Such as the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) mission, which was launched in October 2006, consisting of two identical spacecraft which orbit and capture stereoscopic imaging of the Sun and solar phenomena, such as coronal mass ejections.

The more we know our Sun, the more we know how to protect ourselves from it, whether from solar flares and electromagnetic waves, or from something as basic as protection from UV Rays, which cause sunburn and increases our risk to skin cancer.

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Some fun Sun facts

1 July, 2009

Some facts about our one and only Sun.

  • Author: NASAThe Sun is a star.
  • Its vital statistics are: it’s 4.6 billion years old (about middle aged as far as the lifespan of stars go) and weighs a mass of 2 x 1027 tonnes.
  • About 74% of the Sun is hydrogen. 24% is helium. The rest consists of trace amounts of iron, nickel, oxygen, and all other elements. 
  • The solar system consists of the Sun and eight planets, but the Sun pretty much makes the solar system. It accounts for 99.8% of the total mass of the solar system, most of the remaining 0.2% comes from Jupiter.
    Earth and the rest of the planets together make up just a fraction of the solar system’s mass.
  • The temperature of the Sun’s atmosphere reaches about 100,000°C. The temperature at the Sun’s surface, the photosphere, is less at about 6,000°C, but increases as we move inwards towards the Sun’s, which measures about 15 million degrees Celsius!
  • Ultraviolet light from the Sun has antiseptic properties and is used by industries to sanitize tools and water. In our bodies, it helps in the production of vitamin D. However, UV Rays also cause sunburn.