The sun is the star at the centre of our universe. Worshipped by many civilisations and feared by most, it is a giver of life but could also be the thing that destroys all life as we know it.
With that in mind, here are some scary, shocking, and breath-taking statistics about the biggest star in our solar system..
Many early civilisations worshipped the sun and created stories about its origin and power. To the Greeks, it was Helios or Apollo, gods tasked with ensuring this big ball of light rose every morning and fell at night. To the Aztecs, it was a little more ominous. Their sun gods, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli “demanded” human sacrifices, lest the sun stop rising.
The sun was also important to the early Japanese, who saw it as a supreme Goddess that ruled the world. Remnants of this devotion remain to this day in the Japanese flag.
The Sun will Consume the Earth
The sun will one day burn through all its hydrogen and begin burning helium, at which point it will expand, consuming several planets, including the Earth. It will become what is known as a Red Giant Star, after which it will collapse, retaining its mass but losing its volume and shrinking to the size of the Earth.
The good news is that this won’t happen for millions of years, so the human race has plenty of time to plot an escape.
What’s in a Word?
The English language is a fascinating mixture of words borrowed from other languages and extracted from myths and legends, and the solar system holds some of the most intriguing etymologies. In fact, “Solar System” comes from “Sol”, which is another word for “Sun” and comes from the Ancient Roman god of the sun.
“Sun” comes from “Sunne”, an old-English word of Germanic descent whereas “Helium”, one of its main components, comes from “Helios”, the Greek god of the sun.
It’s hard to imagine just how big the sun is, because we don’t have a lot of reference. We can barely imagine how big the Earth is, so anything bigger than that is mind boggling. But to give you an idea, the sun accounts for 99.8% of the mass of the solar system (not to be confused with volume) and at over 1.4 million kilometres, it has a diameter that is more than 100 times greater than Earth.
You could fit over 1 million Earths into 1 sun, making our home planet an insignificant speck when compared to this monstrous light source. The sun is also nearly a complete sphere, with a difference of just 10km when comparing the diameters of the poles and equator.
An Impressive Gift
If you can’t wrap your head around the sheer scale of the sun or the impressive, mind-boggling stats discussed above, then look to the stars instead and pick up one of our Buy-a-Star gift packages. These are much smaller but just as impressive, and we promise they won’t blow up in a few years and threaten the existence of life as we know it!