As ‘Arizonians’ we are lucky to see the sun most of the year, but when was the last time that you actually thought about the amazing things that our sun does?

Our sun, so large that it could fit 1.3 million Earths inside its domain, warms our planet every day and creates the light necessary to sustain life on Earth. It creates the beautiful sunsets that we know and love and generates an astonishing amount of energy every second. The sun is magnificent but it can also be deadly causing cell death, skin cancer and blindness.

It’s hard to believe that our sun is just an average star! The sun has burned for more than 4.5 billion years as a collection of gas (hydrogen and helium). Because of the mass of the sun, it creates a gravitational force enabling our sun to hold Earth and the other planets within our Solar System in orbit around it.

So, what would happen if there were no sun?

For one, without the gravitational pull of the sun, all of the planets, asteroids, comets and everything else would most likely fly into space and out of our Solar System. Secondly, Earth would lose light. Since the light from the sun takes about 8 minutes to reach Earth we would have about 8 minutes until Earth turned dark. Sadly, we would also no longer see the moon, because there would be no sun for the moon to reflect its light. 

More importantly, for us “warm blooded Phoenicians,” we would lose a significant amount of heat without the sun and within days Earth would be hundreds of degrees below freezing. The loss of heat would also cause Earth’s atmosphere to freeze and collapse, leaving us exposed to the severe radiation of space.

In other words, it would be bad news if the sun disappeared.

Now that you know just how important our sun is, learn all about the sun and solar energy with fun activities all month long as part of Solar Month at Arizona Science Center presented by APS!

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