Do you love swimming at the beach or playing outdoors with friends? How about the change in seasons? All these things are made possible by the Sun. The Sun is a star made of burning gas. It is closer to us than any other star. Without the Sun, the Earth would be a frozen wasteland. No life could survive here.
The Sun controls our seasons. It controls how and when food grows. It even controls when we are asleep and awake. The Sun is the largest thing in our solar system. It makes up 98 percent of the matter in the solar system. Because of its size, it has a strong gravitational pull. It keeps the Earth, the stars, the moons and the other planets in line. Without the gravity of the Sun, the Earth would go spinning off into space.
Fun Facts about the Sun for Kids
- The Sun is over 4.5 billion years old. It started as a cloud of dust and gas. It slowly formed a massive center and gained heat. It is made of hydrogen and helium gases.
- The temperature of the Sun is around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The inner core is much hotter. To put this in perspective, a day of 90 degree weather feels hot to us. Water boils at 212 degrees.
- Some areas on the Sun’s surface are cooler than others. These areas look darker. They are called sun spots.
- Sometimes gases on the Sun’s surface erupt, shooting far out into space. These eruptions look beautiful, but they can cause problems here on Earth. They can interfere with satellites. Our cell phones might not work. Our televisions might not work.
- The Sun’s light reaches the Earth in eight minutes. This is known as the speed of light.
- Don’t look directly at the Sun, which can hurt your eyes. Scientists study the Sun through special filtered telescopes.
- Many ancient cultures thought the Sun was a god. The solar system is named for the ancient Roman word, Sol. Helio means sun in Greek.
- Wasteland: a barren place with no plants, animals or people
- Eruptions: violent explosions of gas
- Interfere: block or disrupt
- Filter: partially block or hide
Learn More All About the Sun, the Closest Star to Our Earth
Watch this fun video all about the Sun:
A video of fast facts about the Sun.
Question: How does the Sun burn?
Answer: The Sun burns through thermonuclear fusion. It is not on fire, but it is very hot. As the gas in the center heats up, it rises to the surface. There it cools and falls back to the center, where the process starts again.