Quickie Questions - Fun with the Sun - Movement of the Sun
|Date Answered||Questioner (age, location)||Question||Answer|
|January 21, 2010||Mia (age 11, Canada)||What do diagnostics do to see inside the sun?||Helioseismology is the study of the Sun interior by studying the propagation of waves in its body (in a similar fashion to geologists learning about the interior of the Earth by studying seismic waves.)|
|December 16, 2009||vanecia (age 11, georgia)||what is the temoerature of the radiative zone of the sun||The temperaure at the Radiative Zone ranges from 15 million °C to one million °C.|
|February 13, 2009||Sharon (age 49, Canada)||Is it possible for the Sun, during the Winter Solstice, to appear (from the Earth's point of view) to STOP for three days and then move 1 degree North?||Yes, although it doesn't really stop. It is just reversing its motion.|
|January 20, 2009||alexis marria (age 11, SWES area)||well im doing the most importaint activity in fifth grade and i am studing the sun and i want to know does the sun have years,and if so,how many days are in one year.
|The Sun orbits around the center of the Milky Way once every 225 million years. This is called a cosmic year.|
|November 6, 2008||barry (age 65, New York USA)||What is the orbit of our sun in the galaxy?||The Sun lies close to the inner rim of the Milky Way Galaxy's Orion Arm, in the Local Fluff or the Gould Belt, at a hypothesized distance of 7.62±0.32 kpc from the Galactic Center.|
|September 26, 2008||MONIKA (age 19, NEW DELHI, INDIA)||SUN ROTATES ON ITS AXIS. BUT WHY THE SPEED IS DIFFERENT OF THE ROTATIN OF POLES AND EQUATOR?||The Sun, like most other astronomical objects (planets, asteroids, galaxies, etc.), rotates on its axis. Unlike Earth and other solid objects, the entire Sun doesn't rotate at the same rate. Because the Sun is not solid, but is instead a giant ball of gas and plasma, different parts of the Sun spin at different rates. MOre information on our web page Rotation of the Sun .|
|September 23, 2008||michael (age 19, New Zealand)||when does the sun burn the most hydrogen fuel ie the fastest rate and why?? also where does the unburnt fuel go?||The Sun is, put in a very simple way, like a thermonuclear bomb with a themostast controlling the burn rate. If the reactions accelerate, the Sun warms, expands slightly to slow down the reactions, and then cools and contracts. The opposit happens if the temperature (or the burning rate of its fuel) decrease, the Sun contracts and the nuclear reactions accelerate. This balancing act keeps the Sun temperature constant, and the burning rate of its nuclear fuel steady.|
|May 28, 2008||katie (age 13, michighan)||Why have astronomers inferred that the sun rotates?||One of the most direct signals of the Sun rotation is the movement of the sunspots on its surface.|
|May 16, 2008||Luka (age 17, Croatia)||I am doing a science project and my task is "Calculate the sun rotation with sunspots" I observe sunspots with telekop and I have some pictures of Sun but I can find any information abaut my problem. So please help me.||We can tell how quickly the surface of the Sun is rotating by observing the motion of structures, such as sunspots, on the Sun's visible surface. The regions of the Sun near its equator rotate once every 25 days. The Sun's rotation rate decreases with increasing latitude, so that its rotation rate is slowest near its poles. At its poles the Sun rotates once every 36 days! You will get enough information for your activity from our web page Rotation of the Sun and the links therein, especially Tracking an Active Sunspot Region.|
|April 1, 2008||Dennis (age 56, FL)||How do you determine the thickness of the different layers of the Sun?||Helioseismology is the study of the interior of the Sun. Scientists use the speed of sound waves in the Sun to determine the characteristics of each layer (including composition and temperature). Oscillations in the photosphere are also used to study the dynamic of the interior of the Sun.|
|January 1, 2008||Shannon (age 11, Outside USA)||How many layers does the sun have?||The solar interior has three parts or layers. The core, or the center of the Sun, is the region where the energy of the Sun is produced. The Sun's energy travels outwards, first through the radiative zone, where particles of light (photons) carry the energy. It actually takes millions of years for a photon to move to the next layer, the convection zone. The visible solar atmosphere consists of three regions: the photosphere, the chromosphere, and the solar corona.|
|December 27, 2007||carol (age 11, north carolina)||what are cooler, dark areas of the photosphere of the sun called?||They are called SUNSPOTS.|
|December 27, 2007||carol (age 11, north carolina)||why do some areas of the photosphere become cooler thansurrounding areas?||The intense magnetic field below a sunspot strangles the normal up-flow of energy from the hot solar interior, leaving the spot cooler and therefore darker than its surroundings. The suppression of the bubbling convective motions forms a kind of plug that prevents some of the energy in the interior from reaching the surface. For a more detailed information, read NASA's article THE SUN'S DARK SECRET: HOW SUNSPOTS PULL THEMSELVES TOGETHER.|
|May 22, 2007||jocelyn (age 8, ca)||how does the sun revolve?||The Sun rotation period at its equator is 25 Earth days, and at its poles is 35 Earth days. This is called "differential rotation", and is due to the fact that our star is a huge globe of gas.|
|May 5, 2007||ATEEB (age 12, DELHI/INDIA)||IS SUN MOVING OR NOT?
IF IT MOVES THEN TELL ME MORE ABOUT IT
|The Sun rotation period about its axis at Equator is 25 Earth days, and at poles is 35 Earth days. The Sun orbits the galaxy at about 220 km/s, taking nearly 220 000 000 years to complete one full orbit (galactic year). This is due to the huge size of our galaxy, and the position of the Sun on it.|
|April 13, 2007||uma (age 21, India)||How shocks should be produced by flares and CME?||The basic process for the generation of shocks is related with a dense, fast, magnetized loop or cloud of plasma that is ejected from the Sun, moving like a piston into the pre-existing solar wind and creating a compression region bounded by a forward shock. more in-depth information here.|
|March 20, 2007||megan (age 16, wisconsin)||How are solar flares,solar wind, and sunspots connected?||A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released. A sunspot is a region on the photosphere of the Sun with a lower temperature than its surroundings and intense magnetic activity. Solar wind is a stream of charged particles (plasma) flowing from the upper atmosphere of the Sun. When the Solar Cycle has reached its maximum when the number of sunspots is also at his peak. Although solar flares and coronal mass ejections can appear at any time, is under these conditions (solar maximum) when they are most numerous, increasing the amount of energy liberated, and the perturbations of the solar wind.|
|March 20, 2007||Anastasia (age 9, connecticut, u.s.a)||why doesn't the sun move?||The Sun is the center of our Solar System, around which all the planets move. But the Sun also rotates around its axis and moves (and with it the whole system) around the center of the galaxy. The Sun rotation period around its axis at Equator is 25 Earth days, and at poles is 35 Earth days. The Sun orbits the galaxy at about 220 km/s, taking nearly 220 000 000 years to complete one full orbit (galactic year).|
|March 2, 2007||lisa (age 13, washington)||Why does the sun take 250 million years to complete one orbit?||The Sun rotation period around its axis at Equator is 25 Earth days, and at poles is 35 Earth days. The Sun orbits the galaxy at about 220 km/s, taking nearly 220 000 000 years to complete one full orbit (galactic year). This is due to the huge size of our galaxy, and the position of the Sun on it.|
|February 28, 2007||Sara (age 14, Kentucky, United States)||What are solar prominences?||Large impressive loop-like structures on the edge of the solar disk sometimes stand out brightly against the dark background of space. Though these structures, called "prominences", appear to be very bright and hot, they are actually hundreds of times cooler and denser than the surrounding gases in the Sun's corona or outermost atmosphere. More information in our web page Solar Prominence.|
|February 22, 2007||vaida (age 13, georgia/ united states)||what is the length of the sun's day||The day of a planet is defined as the rotation period around its axis. The rotation period of our Sun at the equator is 25 Earth days, and its rotation period at the poles is 35 Earth days.|
|February 6, 2007||Prashant (age 11, Singapore)||what are the black spots on the sun? How are they formed?is the number of black spots increasing ?||Sunspots are "dark" because they are cooler than their surroundings. A large sunspot might have a central temperature of 4,000 K (about 3,700° C or 6,700° F), much lower than the 5,800 K (about 5,500° C or 10,000° F) temperature of the adjacent photosphere. For more information visit our page Sunspots.|
|January 19, 2007||Sam (age 20, Maryland, U S)||Does the sun have days?||An Earth day is a full rotation of the planet over its axis. The Sun completes one full revolution over its axis in 25 Earth days at Equator, and in 35 Earth days at Poles.|
|January 16, 2007||Danielle (age 11, California/USA)||What is a sun's photosphere?||The photosphere is the surface of the Sun. Since the Sun is a ball of gas, this is not a solid surface but is actually a layer about 100 km thick.|
|January 10, 2007||Rebecca (age 13, Airzona)||What are the Three layers in the sun's interior?||The three layers in the Sun's interior are the core, the radiation zone, and the convection zone. For more information about our star, please visit our web page The Solar Interior.|
|December 11, 2006||Carlos (age 27, California in the U.S.A)||Is oxygen needed in order for a fire to burn? and if so how does the sun continue to burn if there is no air in outer space?||The production of energy on the Sun doesn’t require oxygen because it happens through nuclear reactions in which nuclei collide and stick together.|
|December 11, 2006||Vipul (age 14, India)||How will be the end of sun? a supernova or a white dwarf.||In about 5 billion years, the hydrogen in the center of the Sun will start to run out. The helium will get squeezed. This will speed up the hydrogen burning. Our star will slowly puff into a red giant. It will eat all of the inner planets, even the Earth. As the helium gets squeezed, it will soon get hot enough to burn into carbon. At the same time, the carbon can also join helium to form oxygen. The Sun is not very big compared to some stars. It will never get hot enough in the center to burn carbon and oxygen. These elements will collect in the center of the star. Later it will shed most of its outer layers, creating a planetary nebula, and reveal a hot white dwarf star.|
|December 9, 2006||kuulei (age 14, Hawaii)||What is the sun made out of?||The two most common elements on the Sun are Hydrogen (73.4 % of the solar mass) and Helium (25.0 % of the solar mass). There are also traces of heavier elements, but they are found in very low concentrations.|
|December 6, 2006||Dalia (age 9, sudan )||What is the sun made up of?||The two most common elements on the Sun are Hydrogen (73.4 % of the solar mass) and Helium (25.0 % of the solar mass). There are also traces of heavier elements, but they are found in very low concentrations.|
|December 1, 2006||Danielle (age 10, New zealand)||How hot is the sun? Do you think there will be another planet?
how are planets formed?
what was the first planet identified?
|The Sun is very hot. At the core the temperature is 14 million C (22.5 million F), at surface 5,500 C (9,932 F) and the temperature of sunspots is 4,000 C (7,232 F). For more interesting facts about our star, visit our page The Sun|
|November 22, 2006||Joe (age 12, Florida)||What is the lighter-colored region around the dark center of a sunspot called?||Sunspots have a dark central region known as the umbra, surrounded by a lighter region called the penumbra.|
|November 12, 2006||Zack (age 12, Tennessee)||Is it possible to live on the coldest sunspot in history?||Sunspots are "dark" because they are cooler than their surroundings. A large sunspot might have a central temperature of 4,000 K (about 3,700° C or 6,700° F), much lower than the 5,800 K (about 5,500° C or 10,000° F) temperature of the adjacent photosphere. For more information visit our page Sunspots|
|June 20, 2001||Greg (51, Queensland, Australia)||Where can I find information on the eclipse of the sun which will be seen in South Australia in 2002?||There will be a total solar eclipse tomorrow which can be viewed if you live in Africa. The solar eclipse that can be viewed from Australia will occur on June 10, 2002. This site provides the best coverage of eclipses. They already have a few pages up about the June 2002 eclipse.|
|June 16, 2000||Aly (age 11, Michigan, USA )||Why do solar eclipses happen?||A solar eclipse happens when the Earth passes through the Moon's shadow. This page and picture are bound to help!|
|March 9, 2000||--||Some people say the sun does not move, my dad says it does. I am confused.||Your dad is right! The sun and the entire solar system revolve around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Not only that, but the Sun rotates on its own axis.|
|July 30, 1999||J.R. (age 42, Ohio)||In astronomy what is the Babcock model?||The Babcock model has to do with the Sun. In 1960, the American astronomer, Horace Babcock, theorized that the Sun's 22-year cycle is caused by the fact that the Sun experiences differential rotation and that it has a convective envelope. Because the Sun is a ball of gas, it experiences differential rotation, i.e., the gases at the equator rotate faster than the gases at the poles. So the magnetic field (which is "carried" in the gases of the Sun) tends to get wrapped around the Sun. The magnetic field gets bunched up because of the differential rotation. Convection in the photosphere causes the bunches or kinks of the magnetic field to erupt through the surface of the Sun. This causes a sunspot group which many think is related to solar activity.|
For an activity concerning solar rotation, please see our Tracking an Active Region exercise!
|November 25, 1998||Alan (age 52)||At what speed is the sun moving through space?||The Sun orbits around the center of the Milky Way galaxy at a rate of about 200-300 kilometers/sec.|
|May 12, 1998||Abbie (age 24, Spain)||In which direction does the moon rotate, clockwise or counterclockwise, and in which direction does the sun rotate?||The Moon and the Sun both rotate counterclockwise. They exhibit direct orbital motion (as opposed to retrograde) - or counterclockwise when viewed from the north pole of the celestial sphere.|
|May 8, 1998||Mikaman (age 14, Australia)||Can we tell whether our Sun is moving within the universe or at all?||There is evidence that the Sun is moving. First, the Sun (and our solar system with it) rotates around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The center of the Milky Way is found by looking in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. Sagittarius is a summer constellation in the northern hemisphere. The Milky Way then moves around the center of the galaxy. Scientists deduce thi s information by observing thousands of nearby stars.|
|March 17, 1998||Nasser (Oregon, USA)||Does the sun rotatate around itself or any other star? How about milky way does it rotate?||The Sun does rotate around its axis, although it rotates faster at the equator than at the poles. At the equator, the rotation period is 25 Earth days, while at the poles it is 35 Earth days.
The Milky Way also rotates, although different parts rotate at different rates. This keeps the arms from all running into each other.