Five things you didn’t know about… The Sun

NASA Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres; Wikimedia Commons

In this world of uncertainty, there’s something quite reassuring about the fact that, despite everything we don’t know, we can be certain the sun will rise in the morning and it will set in the evening. Past civilisations have worshipped this glowing orb of fire. Many a pint of blood has been spilt across sacrificial alters and many a beating heart wrenched from the chests of victims in order to appease this Godly entity. Thankfully, such rituals are now frowned upon, but vast swathes of humanity flock to beaches to tan themselves into wrinkled walnuts whilst – if you’re British –  a celebratory BBQ is cooked for the ten minutes of uninterrupted sun we sometimes get at some point around June. And why shouldn’t we? Above all else, the sun is our lifeline and at the very least we should be thankful for that fact.

But how much do you know about this glittering great star of ours? Have a look through these five facts that you probably didn’t know (If you did, treat it as revision).


1. Give us some energy – The energy from the sun that hits the face of the earth in the span of a day is an almost incomprehensible amount of joules. In order to set it into some sort of context; the amount of energy that was realised when the Tsar Bomba was detonated would need to be multiplied by 2,914 to equal the amount of energy that hits the earth from the sun every hour. To put the Tsar Bomba into context; the energy that it released when detonated was greater than that realised from the combined total of bombs and shells exploded during WW2.

2. They’ve got it all backwards – You never have to look too far before you stumble across a seemingly ridiculous piece of legislation. It appears that we’re not found wanting for a piece that makes reference to the Sun, either; in the lawbooks of Devon, Connecticut, it is unlawful to walk backwards after sunset. Why the citizens of Devon, Connecticut felt the need to be walking backwards at night is an entirely different tangent that’s best not to delve into.

3. Piling on the pounds – Due to the Sun’s immense mass; if you happened to weigh 100 lbs here on Earth, your weight on the Sun would be a hefty 2707 lbs. So if you’re a bit worried about your weight then the Sun is probably not the best place to go. Not that it would be a pleasant place to go anyway; the heat would melt your eyes out your face and the pressure would flatten you to gloop. Besides, you’d still be just as big as you are on Earth, so if you’re portly then a slimming club is a better option.

4. They all laughed at me -  The Greek philosopher Aristarchus (310-230BC) is credited as being the first person to claim that the Earth orbited the sun. However, his heliocentric model was lambasted and discredited in favour of a geocentric model championed by the likes of Claudius Ptolemy.

5. Keep Running – If Usain Bolt was to run at his average speed of 38.18 km/h around the Sun’s circumference of 4,370,005.6 km without stopping for water, food, sleep or anything; constantly running – and smiling – it would take him just over thirteen years to finish.


About the author