AST101- Nov 22, 2011.docx

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Astronomy & Astrophysics
Michael Reid

AST101 THE SUN The sun shines because of nuclear fusion  Too little energy to be “on fire”  Sun older than 25 million years (not contracting)  Too few heavy elements for nuclear fission  Sun is really large (109 times the radius of earth)  Mostly made of hydrogen (70%), a little bit of helium (28%) and 2 % heavier elements  Outside very hot and in center  1 s of sun enough to live for 1 million years (heat)  if we could store energy radiated from the sun in 1 sec we could live off energy for 1 million  Why does a comets plasma tail point away form the sun? o The solar wind blow the plasma ions away  By watching sunspots you can see characteristics of the suns rotation – not the same on all parts  Photosphere is actually bubbly, hot bubbles of gas rise and rel
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