Fact: General facts about the Sun


The Sun is the star around which all of the closest planets, including the Earth, revolve. The name of this planetary system, (the Solar System) takes its name from the Latin name for the sun, Sol.  It is considered an average sized, yellowish star, in the middle of its life.

Facts About The Sun

Name Origin: Old English. As the Sun was visible to all cultures on Earth over time, each language has its own name for the Sun. In some circles the Latin name “Sol” is preferred. The Sun was worshiped as a deity by many religions around the world, including ancient Egypt, Japan, Mesoamerica, and India.

Size: Average Diameter 1,392,000 km, Mass of approximately 1.99 x 10^30 kg. The sun is so large, more than 100 Earths could be lined up across the middle. Its volume is so huge it could fit every other planet in the solar system inside of it…590 times over!

Gravity: 27.9g. Although you could not walk on the surface of the Sun because of the extreme temperatures and gaseous pressure, if you could travel in a craft and survive at the surface a person would weigh almost 2 tons because of the extreme gravity!

Temperature: As a star constantly radiating enormous amounts of energy, the surface of the sun is an amazingly hot 5,505 °C!

Days: Rotational period The sun spins around it’s axis much like the planets do, however because it is made of plasma and gasses, different parts of the surface spin at different rates. A spot on the equator takes about 27 days to rotate all the way around, whereas a spot closer to the poles takes about 36 days!

Orbit: Semi Major Axis: 27,200 light-years, Orbital Period 250 million years. Although we usually think of the planets orbiting the Sun, and the Sun remaining steady, it is also orbiting the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Composition: Hydrogen, Helium, and trace amounts of Oxygen, Carbon, Iron, Neon, Nitrogen, Silicon, Magnesium, Sulfur. The sun is believed to have started from a gathering of Hydrogen gas (which still makes up 73% of its mass) that became so dense and heavy nuclear fusion occurred in the core, which converts Hydrogen into Helium, and produces the tremendous energy in the star.

Visible Features: Although the Sun is an almost perfect sphere of very hot Gas, different parts of its surface have variants in temperatures. In particular there are speckled areas of lower temperature which are called “sun spots” which can last for a few days to up to several months, before decaying away. The area around the sun spots can cause other events such as solar prominences, and solar flares as a result of the powerful magnetic fields present.

To learn more about The Sun

  • The Sun: The Basics