About The Sun
The Sun is critical to life on Earth. The Sun is the Earth’s energy source. We get energy from many other sources like oil, water, coal, and wind, but the largest source of the Earth's energy comes from the Sun.
The Sun makes our plants grow. It warms our air and ground and fuels all life on Earth. Without the Sun, it would be too cold for anything to live on Earth. The Earth would be a very different planet without the Sun!
Center of the Solar System
The Sun is the brightest object in our solar system. There are eight planets that orbit around the Sun. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are closest to the Sun. There are four more planets that are farther away. These planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Pluto used to be considered a planet. A few years ago, astonomers decided that Pluto was a little different and should not be considered a planet like the rest (but that is for a different lesson).
The Earth is at the perfect distance from the Sun to sustain life. We have never found proof that there is life on any other planet. Some are too cold and some are too hot. Temperature is a key reason why a planet is able to sustain life.
Star Light, Star Bright
The Sun is really a star. It is a lot like the stars you see in the sky each night, only much closer. There are other stars in faraway galaxies that are similar to the Sun. Astronomers try to understand more about these stars by studying the Sun. Maybe somewhere, very far away, there is another star that gives life to a planet, just like our Sun gives life to Earth. This is one of the things that astronomers think about every day.
The Sun's Force
The Sun is kind of like a big anchor. It keeps our solar system in place. It gives off a force called "gravitational pull" that keeps our planets moving around it in an orbit. Without the Sun's gravity, planets would just fly off into the universe. The Earth also has gravity. The Earth's gravity is what keeps you stuck to the ground. Without it, you would fly out into space!
Days and Years
The Earth rotates on its axis. This means it spins. It's a lot like someone spinning a basketball on their finger. When you are on the side of the Earth that is closest to the Sun, it’s daytime. When you are on the side of the Earth that is farthest from the Sun, it’s nighttime. It takes 24 hours for the Earth to spin all the way around. One complete rotation of the Earth equals one day. That make sense!
While the Earth is rotating on its axis every 24 hours, it is also moving slowly around the Sun. It takes one year for the Earth to make one complete lap around the Sun. The Earth is slightly tilted on its axis. This means that as it orbits around the Sun, some parts of the Earth are closer at different times of the year. This is what causes seasons.
Facts About the Sun
- The Sun is at the very center of our solar system.
- The Sun is about 93 million miles away from the Earth. It would take us almost a year to get to the Sun in a space shuttle!
- The surface of the Sun is not solid. It is made up of gas that is over 10,000 degrees!
- The Sun is the biggest thing in our solar system.
People Worship the Sun
Many cultures throughout history have worshipped the Sun. In Egypt, people worshipped a Sun god called "Ra." In South America, they called their Sun god "Tonatiuh." The stories that they told about these gods helped to explain the things they didn’t understand.
A Sunny Joke (Ha!)