sunset over tulips

How Strong is the Sun?

In the Philippines, solar panel installations are not uncommon. With the sun’s ever present energy beaming down on to the country on a near daily basis, it’s a truly viable option for renewable power that many have now taken up.

That may lead one to wonder as to the true power of the sun. So, how strong is it, really?

General information

Even in science’s early years, the sun has always been pegged as a prominent feature of our solar system. In fact, that’s not far from the truth – we can prove today that the sun does compose a whopping 99.8% of our solar system. Comprised of 70% hydrogen and 28% helium, among other elements, the sun is a truly central attribute of the space around us.

So much so that many stories, legends, and myths – most of which can be dated back to centuries before – have been created with it as the catalyst for all life. That’s not far from the truth, either, as the sun is has been a source of human power – one way or another – for a very, very long time.

sunset

The Power of the Sun

The core of the sun is an extreme environment, with temperatures reaching up to 15.6 million Kelvin (27M °F or 15M °C) and a pressure of 250 billion atmospheres. The power of the sun is around 386 billion mega Watts, formed by nuclear fusion reactions. Its energy is also made out of 5,000,000 tons of gamma rays where each second 700,000,000 tons of hydrogen gas are then turned into 695,000,000 tons of helium.

The Parts of the Sun

There are three major parts of the sun: namely the photosphere, chromosphere, and the corona. All have different ranges of temperatures because of its distance and placement in the sun’s structure.

  • Photosphere – this is the area where the sun’s radiation is seen as sunlight, with a temperature of around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit or 5,500 degrees Celsius. The sunspots are darker and cooler; their temperature lingers at about 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit or 4,000 degrees Celsius.
  • Chromosphere – light from chromosphere isn’t that strong, but can be seen as a red rim during solar eclipses. The temperature here is about 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit or 4,320 degrees Celsius.
  • Corona – temperature is the highest in the corona, with it reaching scorching temperatures of 3.5 million degrees Fahrenheit or 2 million degrees Celsius. It is visible during solar eclipses as a plasma stream shaped like a crown.

heart on a leaf against the sun

The Sun’s Age 

It stands at the old age of 4.5 billion years old, with only temperature changes to show for its age. The general estimate for its lifespan is 5 billion, and once it reaches that point, it will have lost all of its hydrogen fuel and, as a result, self-destruct from it. It will become such a powerful event that it is highly likely to impact the Earth. Even its position as the third planet from the Sun will not save it from burning when the time comes.