Easy Facts About the Sun

By Katie Johnson
Easy Facts About the Sun
Wikimedia Commons

The Sun, which is classified as a yellow dwarf, is the star at the center of our solar system. In terms of basic properties such as size, age and temperature, our Sun is considered an average star. Its gravitational pull keeps all the planets in their orbits, holding the solar system together. The Earth relies on the Sun for heat, light and energy.

Size

The Sun's diameter is between 860,000 and 870,000 miles. It contains about 99.8 percent of all the mass in the solar system, making its mass over 330,000 times that of Earth's. About 1 million Earths could fit inside the Sun.

Composition

The Sun is a composed of hot gases, mostly hydrogen (74 percent) and helium (23 percent). The remaining percent is composed of oxygen, carbon, neon and iron.

Temperature

The surface of the Sun is about 5,500 degrees C, while the outer atmosphere increases to about 2 million degrees C. The core is the hottest at 10 to 15 million degrees C.

Distance From the Earth

The Sun is about 93 million miles away from the Earth. Sunlight takes just a little over 8 minutes to reach the Earth.

Lifespan

The Sun's lifespan is approximately 10 billion years. It is currently about 4.5 billion years old. As the Sun reaches the end of its life, it will begin to accumulate more helium as it loses its hydrogen. This will cause it to expand into a red giant. Once it has exhausted all its fuel, the Sun will collapse into a faint white dwarf and eventually turn cold.

About the Author

Katie Johnson is a native of Los Angeles and has been writing professionally since 2009. Her published work on eHow.com and Travels.com includes several articles relating to health, science and travel. She is a graduate of UCLA's Writers' Program, which provided her with extensive studies in novel, short story and essay writing.