Solar Science: The Heat is On!

What would we do without the sun? The sun is an enormous celestial body in outer space that warms our entire solar system! The surface of the sun is around 10,000°F (5537°C) while the core is more than 18 million°F (9999982°C)! The sun is a giant ball of hydrogen and helium gas that is burning to produce this immense heat!

Nuclear fusion is the process that creates the sun’s heat. When the nuclei of two hydrogen atoms fuse together, they create one heavier helium atom. Every second, our sun turns 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium! Nuclear fusion produces huge amounts to energy, this energy can be classified into two types of: thermal energy and radiant energy. Without nuclear fusion, there would be no life on Earth!

Radiant energy is sent out from the sun in rays, most of this energy goes out into space. Earth receives a very small fraction of the sun’s rays, but it’s enough to warm our entire planet! Some of these rays bounce off of our atmosphere, reflecting them back into space, though most of this radiant energy reaches earth’s surface.

Thermal energy is heat. Nuclear fusion creates thermal energy, making the sun is millions of degrees hot! When energy from the sun hits an object, the atoms of the object begin to wiggle and move faster creating more thermal energy! If you’ve ever touched a sidewalk on a hot day, you’re feeling thermal energy in action!

Temperature is a measure of heat, which determines the degree of heat intensity of a substance. Temperature measures the amount of thermal energy of a substance. Heat makes molecules move more quickly. Your microwave heats your food by making the molecules move more quickly, making your food hotter!

Today’s experiment of the day is called Solar Oven S’mores! We use the sun’s rays to make yummy smores! See the experiment by visiting: