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Analysing the Sun

The sun

The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is a nearly perfect
sphere of hot plasma, with internal convective motion that generates a magnetic
field via a dynamo process. It is by far the most important source of energy for
life on Earth. Its diameter is about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass is about
330,000 times that of Earth, accounting for about 99.86% of the total mass of
the Solar System. The sun is so much bigger than the earth that over 1 million
planets of the size of the earth can fit inside the sun.About three quarters of the
Sun's mass consists of hydrogen; the rest is mostly helium, with much smaller
quantities of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon, Photospheric
composition (by mass
Type of gas
Hydrogen
Helium
Oxygen

Amount of gas
73.46%

Carbon
Iron

0.29%

Neon
Nitrogen
Silicon
Magnesium
Sulfur

0.12%

24.85%

0.77%
0.16%
0.09%
0.07%
0.05%
0.04%

Characteristic
Size
Mass
Density
Surface temperature

Mass, Distance or temperature


1392000 km in diameter
1.98 times 10^30kg
1400 kg/m^3
5500 degree celcius to 6600 degree
celcius(its hot enough to melt
anything)

The structure of the sun

The atmosphere of the sun consists of three layers.


Photosphere
Chromosphere

Corona
Photosphere

Is the surface of the sun


It cannot be seen
This layer of gas is about 500 km thick
Chromosphere
It is above the Photosphere
The layer of gas is about 10 000 km thick
It is invisible and can only be seen during a solar eclipse .
The chromosphere give of reddish light

PHENOMENA ON THE EARTH SURFACE OF THE


EARTH SUN AND THE EFFECTS ON THE EARTH
Sunspots, promineces and solar flares are example of
phenomena occurring on the surface of the sun.
Sunspots
o It is the dark spot seen in the surface sun
o Usually appears as pairs or group around the
equator of the sun.
o Sunspots appear due to concentration of magnetic
field generated by the sun.
o Sunspots have lower temperature compared to
their surrounding.
o Sunspots can last from one hour to month after
their formation
Prominences
o There are bright red arches or loops of hot gases
protecting from the surface of the sun
o Occur over and and around sunspots
o May erupt a few days after their formation
Solar flares
o What is a Solar Flare?

o A flare is defined as a sudden, rapid, and


intense variation in brightness. A solar flare
occurs when magnetic energy that has built up
in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released.
Radiation is emitted across virtually the entire
electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves
at the long wavelength end, through optical
emission to x-rays and gamma rays at the
short wavelength end. The amount of energy
released is the equivalent of millions of 100megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at the
same time! The first solar flare recorded in
astronomical literature was on September 1,
1859. Two scientists, Richard C. Carrington
and Richard Hodgson, were independently
observing sunspots at the time, when they
viewed a large flare in white light.
o Full Disk Corona with Flare Soft x-ray image of
a solar flare on the Sun
o As the magnetic energy is being released,
particles, including electrons, protons, and
heavy nuclei, are heated and accelerated in
the solar atmosphere. The energy released
during a flare is typically on the order of 1027
ergs per second. Large flares can emit up to
1032 ergs of energy. This energy is ten million
times greater than the energy released from a
volcanic explosion. On the other hand, it is less
than one-tenth of the total energy emitted by
the Sun every second.
o There are typically three stages to a solar
flare. First is the precursor stage, where the
release of magnetic energy is triggered. Soft xray emission is detected in this stage. In the
second or impulsive stage, protons and

electrons are accelerated to energies


exceeding 1

o MeV. During the impulsive stage, radio waves,


hard x-rays, and gamma rays are emitted. The
gradual build up and decay of soft x-rays can
be detected in the third, decay stage. The
duration of these stages can be as short as a
few seconds or as long as an hour.
o Solar flares extend out to the layer of the Sun
called the corona. The corona is the outermost
atmosphere of the Sun, consisting of highly
rarefied gas. This gas normally has a
temperature of a few million degrees Kelvin.
Inside a flare, the temperature typically
reaches 10 or 20 million degrees Kelvin, and
can be as high as 100 million degrees Kelvin.
The corona is visible in soft x-rays, as in the
above image. Notice that the corona is not
uniformly bright, but is concentrated around
the solar equator in loop-shaped features.
These bright loops are located within and
connect areas of strong magnetic field called
active regions. Sunspots are located within
these active regions. Solar flares occur in
active regions.
o A person cannot view a solar flare by simply staring at the Sun.
(NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN! EYE DAMAGE CAN
RESULT.) Flares are in fact difficult to see against the bright
emission from the photosphere. Instead, specialized scientific
instruments are used to detect the radiation signatures emitted during
a flare. The radio and optical emissions from flares can be observed
with telescopes on the Earth. Energetic emissions such as x-rays and

gamma rays require telescopes located in space, since these emissions


do not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere.

The effects of the phenomena on the surface of the Sun on the


Earth

Effect on

Explanation

Communication
system

The earths atmosphere is used to reflect radio


signals. The solar wind causes the radio signals
to fluctuate causing radio communication to be
affected

navigation systems

Aeroplanes and ships use radio signals from


transmitters located throughout the earth to
determine their position.The radio signals of the
transmitter are affected by solar wind, causing
the system to give navigators information that is
incorrect by as much as several kilometres

satellites

The solar winds heats up the earths upper


atmosphere causing hot air to rise into space.
This increases the density at the orbit of
satellites significantly. If these satellites are not
boosted to higher orbits, they will fall to the
earth.

Radiation
hazards

Astronaunts in space are exposed to radiation


hazards caused by high energy particles
released by intense solar flares.

Electric power

Electric power supply is disrupted when


magnetically charged solar wind induce current
in power transmission lines

Another example of the effect of the phenomena on the surface of


the sun is the formation of aurorae. Aurorae are brands of coloured light

sky in most northern and southern parts of the earth. When some of the
charged particles of the solar wind reaches the eart, the collide with gas
molecules like oxygen and nitrogen, causing them to release energy in
form of light.We see this as light as an aurora.

How energy is generated by the Sun

1. Energy is generated by the Sun through nuclear fusion in the core


of
the Sun.
2. A nuclear reaction can produce large amounts of energy. A nuclear
reaction where several atoms of one type of element merge together
to
form a different element.
3. The Sun mainly made up of hydrogen. Under high temperature in
the
core of the Sun, hydrogen atoms undergo nuclear fusion to form
helium
atoms and a large amount of energy is produced.
4. The energy produced is in the form of heat and light.
Hydrogen atoms nuclear fusion helium atoms + energy

The Stars and the Galaxies in the Universe

What is a big Star?


1. A star is a big ball of hot gases.
2. The gases are mostly hydrogen and helium.
3. A star emits light and heat which are generated by nuclear reactions.
4. A star is different from a planet because it can give off its own light.
5. The Sun actually one of the stars in the Universe. It is the nearest
star to the Earth. It is stable, medium sized star formed about 4.6
billion years ago.

The Bright Stars in the Sky

1. Stars vary in brightness. The brightness of a star is affected by


its
distance from Earth.
2. The brightest star seen from the Earth is Sirius.
3. Sirius emits white light.
4. Rigel is another example of bright star. Rigel emits a bluish light.

The Various Types of Stars

1. We can classify stars using characteristics such as


a. Brightness surface
b. size
c. temperature and colour.
2. The brightness/colour of star depends on its size and temperature. Th
temperature of stars varies from 30000C to 50000C.
3. Stars with higher temperature are blue. Stars with lower temperature
are red.

White Dwarf star ,


Giant Star
Neutron star
Medium-sized star

The Formation of Stars

1.

Stars are formed within large clusters of dust and gases

2.

A star is born from a nebula

3. These cloud of dust and gases are called nebulae


4. The dust consists of solid such as iron and silicates
5. The gases are mostly hydrogen and helium.
6. The formation of a star starts when a nebula is pulled into its
core due to the force of gravity:
A. Gases and particles in the nebula are pulled by strong gravitational forces
to form a lump.
B. Strong gravitational forces cause the lump of gases to shrink and is
compressed until it become very compact to form a core
C. The core becomes increasingly smaller and compact as a result of an
increasing gravitational force
D. When temperature and pressure in the core become very high, nuclear
reaction occurs.
E. Hydrogen gas turned into helium. A lot of heat and light are released. The
core shines and a star is born.

7. As the nebula collapses, its starts to spin.


8. The spinning clouds pull in more hydrogen gas over million of year.
9. Collisions occur between hydrogen atoms in the spinning nebula,
producing heat.
10. When the temperature reaches 150000C, nuclear fusion takes
place in
the core of the nebula.
11. Hydrogen atoms combine to form helium atoms, releasing a large

amount of heat and light energy.

The Death of Stars


1. A star will die when all the hydrogen gas in its core is used up in
Nuclear reactions.
2. The lifespan of a star is determined by the original mass of the
air.
3. A star with a big mass has a shorter lifespan compared to a star
with a
small mass.
4. example, star that are 50 times bigger than the Sun live for only a
few
million years. Star that are smaller than the Sun can live more than
10
billion years.
5. A die star will become either a white dwarf, neutron star or black
hole
when its dies, depending on its size

black hole

The Galaxies
1. A galaxy is a group of stars held together by gravity.
2. There may be million or even billion of stars in a galaxy.
3. There are three main types of galaxies, depending on their shape.
4. They can be spiral, elliptical or irregular

Different types of galaxies

Spiral

A spiral galaxy consists


of a central group of
stars with arms spiralling
outwards.

Elliptical

An elliptical galaxy is
shaped like a flattened
sphere.

Irregular

An irregular galaxy has


no definite shape

The Milky Way


1. The Milky Way has a spiral shape and contains about 200 billion
stars.
2. Our Sun is one of the stars in the Milky Way.
3. Our Solar System consists of nine planets and their moons,
orbiting
around the Sun.
4. The Earth is the third planet from the Sun.
The Universe
1. The Universe consists of all matter, energy and space.
2. There are billions of galaxies in the Universe.

Space exploration

DEVELOPMENT IN THE FIELD OF ASTRONOMY


ASTRONOMER

YEAR

CONTRIBUTION TO THE

FIELD OF ASTRONOMY

Aristotle

384-322 BC

- suggest that the Earth was


spherical and not flat

Nicholas Copernicus

1473-1543

- The first astronomer to


suggest that the Sun was
the centre of the Solar
System.
- Stated that
each planet had its own and
that the orbits were circular.

Galileo Galilei

1564-1642

- inverted the first


astronomical telescope and
used it to observe
a. the surface of the moon
b. sunspots
c. the planets Saturn and its
rings
d. the four moons that orbit
Jupiter.

Johannes Kepler

1571-1630

- Stated that the Earths


orbits
is elliptical

Isaac Newton

1642-1727

- introduced that law of


gravity. - introduced the
idea that natural satellites
and planets remaining in
their respective orbits, are
closely related to the pull of
gravity.
inverted the first reflecting
telescope.

Albert Einstein

1879-1955

- introduced the idea of


time, space and energy
being related

-Telescopes are used in the space exploration.


he following table shows some of the major events in the space
exploration.

Year

Event

1926

Robert H. Goddard launched the first rocket

1957

Sputnik I (Russia), the first man-made satellite, was launched to


orbit
around Earth.

1957

Sputnik II, was launched and it carried a dog named Laika.

1958

Explorer I, the first American satellite, was launched

1959

Lunar 2 was launched but it crashed onto the Moons surface.

1959

Lunar 3, the first space probe that orbited the Moon.

1961
1962

Vostok 1 carried Yuri Gagarin to orbit the Earth.(First person to


orbit the earth)
Mariner 2, the first space probe launched to Venus

1964

Mariner 4, the first space probe launched to Mars.

1966

Lunar 9 landed on the Moon

1969

Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. Neil Armstrong stepped on the


Moons
surface.
Viking 1 and Viking 2 landed on Mars

1976
1981
1986

Space shuttle Columbia was launched(The first reusable


manned spacecraft)
Voyager 2 passing through the outer space of Uranus

1989

Voyager 2 passing thourgh the outer space of Pluto

1990

Spacecraft launched to place Hubble telescope in the Earths


orbit.

Voyager
2

Sputnik I

Sputnik 2

Explorer I

The Application of the Technology Related to Astronomy and Space


Exploration
1. The primary objective of space programmes are the search for
scientific
knowledge and exploration of the unknown.
2. Several modern technological devices have been invented to
explore outerspace. These include:
a. telescope
- three types of telescope for space exploration.
i. Refracting uses lenses to take or send photographs of outer space
ii. Reflecting telescope uses mirror to take or send photographs of outer

space

iii. radio telescope used to receive electric signals and radiation from
outer space

b. spacecraft /spaceships
- spacecraft are launched into space to obtain information.
- spacecraft that transport astronaut are launched into space
using
Rockect .
- A probe is a spaceship that does not carry humans. Examples
are
Voyager 2, Viking 1, Pioneer 10 ad Mariner 10.
- Space probes are launched to collect information by taking
photographs of our solar system
c. space station
- space stations provide a place in space for astronaut to carry out
studies while in space.
- Russias space station-Salyut, Americas Skylab.
- The International Space Station (ISS) is now being
built in orbit
through the cooperation of 16 countries.

d. space shuttles

- this type of spacecraft can be launched, returned to the Earth


and can be used several times.
- nowadays, the launching of a spacecraft with rockects has been
replaced by space shuttles.
- Space shuttles are used to ferry astronaut and research
equipments as well as to launch space probes and satellites.

e. Satellites
1. A satellites is an object that orbits around another object.
2. Man-made satellites are launched into certain orbits for remote
sensing
purpose.
3.. Satellites that are launched are very beneficial, especially for the
following fields.
a. Telecommunications
- Communications satellites are satellites that transmit signals for
televisions, radios, telephones, telexes, the internet and another
communication devices
b. Meteorological and disaster monitoring
- Meteorological satellites help us to accurately predict the
weather.
c. Navigation
- Navigational satellites help ships and the accurately aircrafts
determine their locations, especially in bad weather
d. Geology
- Satellites help geologists in the exploration of oil and minerals.
e. Agriculture
- Satellites are used to detect the location of soil that is suitable

for specific crops.


f. Forestry
- Satellites provide information on how forests are destroyed by
fires, pests or diseases.
g. National security
- Satellites can detect pollution, such as oil spills at sea.