When we look at the Sun in the sky, it may seem that our star is not that big – this is not true, because this seemingly small size is due to the distance between the Earth and the Sun (at an average distance of approximately 150 million km from us). If we could travel far enough to observe the Sun and Earth from afar, the vast difference in size between the two would be apparent. But, after all, what is the difference? How many times is the sun bigger than the earth?
To better understand this difference, we need to consider that there are several ways to measure something in space. For example, the mass of an object indicates the amount of matter in it, while volume represents the amount of space that matter occupies. Having said that, let’s start with some features of our star, which is the largest body in the solar system. Our star alone collects 99.86% of the mass our time, with a large portion of that total remaining with Jupiter and Saturn.
Thus, the mass of the Sun is 98,892 x 10 kg, which is “only” 330,000 times the mass of the Earth. This value, called the “solar mass”, is used by astronomers to describe the masses of other objects, such as black holes supermassive, which easily amounts to hundreds of millions of solar masses. In fact, our star has a spherical shape bordering on perfection, separated by only 10 kilometers from the diagonals of the equator and the pole. If multiple “planets” could be crammed into the Sun, we would be able to put 1.3 million planets there.
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The approximate radius of the Sun is 696 thousand km, while its diameter is 1.391 million km, which is more than 8 times the diameter of Jupiter. The size of the Sun is 1412 x 10¹⁸, which sounds quite impressive. Know very well that in practice this means that our star is 1.3 million times the mass of the Earth.
And the Sun may be bigger than we think – at least that’s suggested by studies by engineer and researcher Xavier Jubier, who studies the Sun and is a member of the International Astronomical Union. He created detailed eclipse models to accurately determine where shadows would be cast during a lunar eclipse, but by combining real photos and historical observations of phenomena with models, he realized that the exact shapes of the eclipses only made sense if they were magnified by a few hundred kilometers to correspond to half The diameter of the sun.
Either way, the sun will eventually grow. Since stars tend to bulge out during the aging process, these dimensions won’t last forever: in about 5 billion years, our star It would have used up all the hydrogen in its core and become a red giant. This star will expand beyond the orbits of the inner planets of the Solar System, including Earth. Over a few hundred million years, the Sun will be about 200 times the size of what it is today. After that, everything should calm down and it will “wither”, forming a very dense white dwarf, the size of Earth.
Big but dependent
The Sun is a G-type main sequence star that gradually loses mass due to two processes. The first is the nuclear fusion that takes place indoors, where the hydrogen atoms turn into helium, and when the hydrogen turns into energy, some mass is lost in the process – we feel it in the solar heat. In parallel, there is also the solar wind, which constantly pushes protons and electrons into outer space.
While the Sun is large and massive enough to make the Earth look like one speck in space, there are many other things in the universe that make our star appear small. One of them is Actress Eta Karina, located about 7,500 light-years from the knot, formed by A Binary system With a mass more than 100 times the mass of the Sun. It shines with the power of five million suns, and when observed, it appears blue because the temperature on its surface is five times that of the sun.
actually BetelgeuseThe giant red giant in the constellation Orion the Huntsman, is about 640 light-years from Earth and is the eighth brightest star in the night sky. Astronomers estimate that it is about 1,400 times larger than the Sun – if we could swap the Sun for Betelgeuse, it would swallow up all the rocky planets and even Jupiter, so only Saturn could escape. Finally, the giant star VY Canis Majoris, of the constellation Canis Major, has a diameter that makes it 2,000 times larger than our star, which is at the theoretical size limit for stars.
As the name implies, giant stars have great mass and great luminosity, and because they burn their fuel so quickly, they tend to have shorter lives, lasting a few million years—for comparison, the Sun is already about 4.5 billion years old. Continue to carry out nuclear fusion within it for at least another 5 billion years. After the fuel runs out, giant planets tend to explode supernovae, violent and powerful explosions scatter heavy elements throughout the universe. VY Canis Majoris is expected to explode in 100,000 years.
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