Lesson Plan - Get It!
If you think the sun feels hot in the summer, wait until you get closer to it in this lesson!
If you have experienced a condition like the one pictured above, you already know that the sun is pretty powerful!
Before you continue, did you look at the previous Space Science lessons? Check them out under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar.
Sunburn is actually a burn, caused by the sun's ultraviolet rays. Although we cannot see UV rays, they are strong enough to burn skin, permanently damage eyes, and even lighten your hair.
Yet, we are so far from the sun that it takes eight-and-a-half minutes for the light leaving the sun to reach the earth. Image how quickly some of us would burn if we were any closer!
Our sun is actually a star, made up of hot gasses, that sits at the center of the solar system. All of the planets, Earth included, revolve around the sun in an elliptical pattern. Elliptical means that it moves in an oval pattern.
- So, what gives the sun such power?
Well, a process called "nuclear fusion" is constantly occurring on the surface of the sun. Nuclear fusion occurs when molecules are pushed together. Think about taking two balls of Playdoh and forcefully combining them.
Nuclear fusion on the sun involves the elements of hydrogen and helium. Hydrogen atoms, which are very small, are combined to form helium. Helium is larger than hydrogen.
When helium is created, energy is released on the surface of the sun. It is over 18 million degrees Fahrenheit in the core of the sun, where nuclear fusion is occurring!
- Can you even imagine a temperature that high?
Our sun provides us with light and energy necessary for sustaining life on Earth. Without the sun, plants would not be able to eat, and humans would likely freeze to death. We rely on our sun to provide valuable energy. The sun's energy starts with the process of nuclear fusion, or creating larger substances from smaller ones. This process helps keep the temperature of the sun high, and allows the sun to release energy into the solar system.
In the Got It? section, you will study features of the sun by creating a foldable.