Solar System Exploration – The Sun

This is the first of a feature I ran a couple of years back. I’m going to be using the news and pictures I’ve been collecting to create a series of posts exploring the solar system a piece at a time. I’m going to start at the beginning, move out and then go all random after that depending on what I decide to put in.



The sun – our own shining little corner of the galaxy. Our Sun is a star, a small and quite calm, quiet star. It has storms and changes that are significant but tiny compare to other stars in our galaxy. This is good for us on Earth as it makes living with our nearest stellar neighbour tolerable and therefore it’s activity promotes life on Earth.


  • Diameter: 695,700km (about 109 x Earth’s)
  • Mass: 330,000 x Earth (The sun makes up for 99.86% of the mass of the solar system)
  • The sun is made up of about 75% Hydrogen, the rest is mostly Helium with the rest made up of heavier elements like Oxygen, Carbon and Iron.
  • The Sun orbits the galaxy at a speed of 220km/sec.


The picture above shows the scale of the sun to the planets, it is phenomenally HUGE! Somewhere between 99.8% and 99.9% of the material in the solar system is the sun, the rest is planets, comets, asteroids etc. To scare you even more, the sun burns 600 million tons of hydrogen PER SECOND. Per second?!!?

The real surprising thing about this fact is that it’s a immense amount of fuel, but it’s very efficient as the Earth (tiny though it is many times greater than this mass) will not run out of fuel for a long, long time. But when it does, it’s predicted to swell and become a red giant. It will grow, probably swallowing the Earth and warming the outer planets, making moons like Europa and Titan possibly suitable for humanoid or advanced lifeforms.


Despite the size of our local star, it is tiny compare to many other stars in our galaxy. Alpha Centauri is the closest star to us apart from the sun and it is not visible without a telescope, despite being brighter than the sun. So, our sun isn’t a bight and shining beacon in our galaxy. Knowing this makes an oberserver very aware that the stars we see are far bigger and brighter than our sun and also, that there is far more in our galaxy than we can see. Our size and insignificance is mind blowing.

Our sun also has storms, storms that are many time bigger than the Earth that would burn away everything in a second if we were close enough. These storms radiate from the spots which can be spotted on the sun fairly easily, these too are many times the size of the Earth.

The sun is an ever changing ball of self sustaining energy and yet there is so much more to it than being a bright circle in the sky.

Viewing the sun

As the sun is so bright it’s not a good idea to look right at it or though a telescope. This great little one pager shows how it should be done:

There’s a method for everyone to use.



I’m going to be using Gustav Holst’s the planets as part of the artistic inspiration. Now as the sun isn’t a planet, Holst did not compose a piece on the sun. But in every culture of society we’re inspired by the sun, there are numerous sun gods that have been devised.

Thomas Bergerson (one half of the Two Steps from Hell duo) has composed a piece on the sun though and this heart warming piece can be heard:

Also think about Art, how many pictures and paintings include the sun rising or setting, how many children’s pictures have a bright yellow circle in the top corner and how often do we wish for warm summer sun in the depths of winter.

I hope you my bloggies are enjoying this feature.

Planet Simon


Also find Planet Simon on Twitter

Come and visit find me on my Planet Simon Facebook Page

Find some of my pictures on Instagram

Also look me up on: Pinterest Stumbledupon Wattpad


16 thoughts on “Solar System Exploration – The Sun

  1. Hey Simon, thank you so very much for this introduction of the sun and the solar system. This is really a great post. It’s amazing how you can explain complicated things in a way that erveryone is able to understand it.
    I am looking forward to your next posts πŸ˜‰
    Have a nice weekend.
    Julia ❀


  2. Terrific post! I’m grateful that our sun is a “quiet” star–I don’t need the kind of excitement that giant solar flares could cause. And of course, sunrises and sunsets are a gift we’re all given every day. Thanks for sharing more info on the heavenly body that makes life possible on earth. πŸ™‚


  3. Thanks, Teach! 😊 It’s funny you say that about the drawings- I used to love to color in the sun as a kid and every drawing I did had it right there in the corner. 😊
    Great info, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pleased about that – I’m trying to ge tthe time to put together a bit of good stuff that’s entertaining, the problem is my time.
      We can get a cooffee whenever you like, my weekends are typically rammed though. How about a lunch coffee? As I’m only round the corner during the week.

      Liked by 1 person

It's great to hear from bloggies - feel free to leave a comment :-)

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.