Let's talk about that big, beautiful ball of light in the sky! What exactly is the sun, though?
Watch a hot video and read some cool articles about the sun at Answers in Genesis: Astronomy: Sun.
The sun is a star made up of gas all the way through.
It’s the closest star to earth, and even though it is 109 times bigger than Earth, our sun is considered a dwarf star, which means it is much smaller than many other stars in the universe! In our solar system, though, the sun is the largest thing we have. It takes up 98% of all the mass in our solar system! Look at this picture to see how huge the sun is compared to Earth.
Watch Why Does the Sun Shine? by They Might Be Giants (below). You have to listen quickly!
Unlike Earth, the sun has no hard surface. Burning hydrogen and helium gives the sun temperatures hot enough to warm the planets (like Earth) that orbit it millions and even billions of miles away! The sun's giant size gives it a huge gravitational pull, which is why all the planets can orbit the sun.
The sun is really far away from Earth. It is so far that it takes 8 minutes for light to get from the sun to Earth! Think about when you turn a light on in your room. It instantly lights up! Light from the sun, on the other hand, takes 8 minutes to travel all the way here and light up our planet!
Throughout civilization, humans have used the sun for so many things! The sun has a consistent pattern, and humans recognized this long ago. Since the sun rises and sets in the same place, it has been used for everything from keeping time to mapping and directions.
By studying the position of the sun in the sky, ancient astronomers discovered that a year is about 365 days long, and we still use that information today in our calendars!
The sun is important for Earth because it gives us light, heat, seasons, stable measurements of time, and so much more! We could not survive without the sun!