The Sun is an almost perfectly symmetric yellow dwarf star [spectral class G2V] which is at the center of our Solar System.

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33
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5answers
2k views

Does the sun rotate?

As implied from the question, does the sun rotate? If so, do other stars not including the sun also rotate? Would there be any consequences if the sun and other stars didn't rotate? Me and my friends ...
31
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3answers
4k views

Why is the sky not purple?

I realise the question of why this sky is blue is considered reasonably often here, one way or another. You can take that knowledge as given. What I'm wondering is, given that the spectrum of ...
25
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4answers
4k views

Why is a new moon not the same as a solar eclipse?

Forgive the elementary nature of this question: Because a new moon occurs when the moon is positioned between the earth and sun, doesn't this also mean that somewhere on the Earth, a solar eclipse ...
20
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6answers
2k views

Can the apparent equal size of sun and moon be explained or is this a coincidence?

Is there a possible explanation for the apparent equal size of sun and moon or is this a coincidence? (An explanation can involve something like tide-lock effects or the anthropic principle.)
17
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2answers
1k views

How long until we fall into the Sun?

As a planet moves through the solar system, a bow shock is formed as the solar wind is decelerated by the magnetic field of the planet. Presumably the creation of this shock wave would cause drag on ...
17
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3answers
176 views

What happens to the electron companions of cosmic ray protons?

If primary cosmic rays are made mostly of protons, where are the electrons lost, and does this mean that the Earth is positively charged? Does the sun eject protons and electrons in equal number?
14
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1answer
195 views

The transit of Venus and solar neutrino rates

The following question was posed at the end of Maury Goodman's June 2012 long-baseline neutrino newsletter. During the Venus transit of the sun, were more solar neutrinos absorbed in Venus, or ...
14
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1answer
353 views

How fast is the Earth-Sun distance changing

This is inspired by Evidence that the Solar System is expanding like the Universe?, which referenced an article by G. A. Krasinsky and V. A. Brumberg, "Secular Increase of Astronomical Unit from ...
13
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2answers
507 views

Is the length of the day increasing?

In Frontiers of Astronomy, Fred Hoyle advanced an idea from E.E.R.Holmberg that although the Earth's day was originally much shorter than it is now, and has lengthened owing to tidal friction, that ...
12
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2answers
306 views

Hydrogen as a fuel in Sun

The source of Sun's incessant energy is hydrogen; which is continuously converting to helium through nuclear fusion reaction releasing energy. Why does not all hydrogen convert into helium in one big ...
11
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4answers
407 views

Is solar wind positively charged?

Many times I heared that the solar wind consists of protons and alpha particles. The both are positively charged, but are there electrons in solar wind?
11
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2answers
182 views

Could a mirror array used for thermal solar power plant double as a telescope at night?

I was looking at the Ivanpah Solar facility and it occurred to me that the large array of mirrors could double as some sort of telescope array at night. The climate in the desert would be ideal for ...
11
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2answers
126 views

What would happen to wet laundry in the vacuum of space?

Imagine for a second that I was in a college dorm room frustrated that all the dryers were broken or in use. I'm impatient and not a jerk so I don't wait or take out someone else's laundry, I shoot it ...
10
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1answer
8k views

Why can there be fire in space while there is no oxygen?

The sun is made of fire but fire needs oxygen right? So.. Why can there be flames in space, while there's no oxygen? Same idea as with the rocket engines of the spaceship, which also produce fire ...
10
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6answers
3k views

Is it safe to observe the sun through binoculars with welding glass in front? [closed]

I asked this on Reddit but didn't get much of a response. So here goes! I'm looking for low-cost ways to observe the Transit of Venus this summer. Since I'll only be able to see a few hours of it ...
10
votes
1answer
216 views

What proportion of a star's hydrogen is consumed in its life?

I've heard in a lecture that a star like the sun would burn 3% of its Hydrogen before expiring. I would have thought it would be much more.
10
votes
2answers
310 views

How are the northern lights produced?

Although I've never seen it myself, I hear the northern lights are a sight to be seen! I know they're related to the Earth's magnetic field but I don't know much more about them. What is the physical ...
10
votes
1answer
153 views

Have general relativistic effects of the sun's rotation been measured?

I was wondering if general relativistic effects of the sun's rotation have also been measured, like gravity probes A and B measured GR effects from the earth.
10
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1answer
133 views

Why do some sunsets have a green flash?

Some sunsets exhibit a phenomenon called "green flash," where there is a quick flash of green light right as the sun is setting. I have seen this myself several times, and sort of understand it. I am ...
10
votes
0answers
476 views

Why does the moon look bigger at the horizon? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon? Why does the moon look bigger at horizon or skyline than at other times e.g. at ...
9
votes
2answers
287 views

Effect of gravitation on light

Einstein predicted that the gravitational force can act on light. This was verified in one solar eclipse that light from a star near to the sun's disc bent due to Sun's gravity as predicted. Since ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Do photons lose energy while travelling through space? Or why are planets closer to the sun warmer?

My train of thought was the following: The Earth orbiting the Sun is at times 5 million kilometers closer to it than others, but this is almost irrelevant to the seasons. Instead, the temperature ...
8
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3answers
378 views

Are planetary orbits measured from the Sun's surface or centre?

I would imagine planetary orbits are measured from the Sun's centre and not its surface. Is that true? I can't find anywhere that actually states this.
8
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1answer
181 views

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way?

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way? Can it be measured?
8
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1answer
118 views

The effect of dark lines in the Sun's spectrum on reflected paint/ color

Its well known that the Sun's spectrum is not continuous, and that there are dark bands within the suns spectrum. Is it possible to produce a color of paint that is bright in, say, indoor lighting and ...
8
votes
5answers
348 views

sun-moon-earth anomaly

When one looks at the sun and the moon in the sky together, why is it that the illuminated crescent of the moon does NOT "point" at the sun? (More correctly the perpendicular bisector of the straight ...
7
votes
2answers
396 views

Why don't we see solar and lunar eclipses often?

Since we see the new moon at least once in a month when the Moon gets in between of the Sun and the Moon at the night and as far as I know if this happens during the day, you'll get to see a solar ...
7
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4answers
314 views

Is there a way to create an artificial solar eclipse?

I heard this story, where they celebrated the birthday of the now defunct North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung in the 1970s and as a birthday present they created through some very complex artillery ...
7
votes
2answers
162 views

How to create unusual sundial?

I am considering small "artsy" project. I would like to create sundial by placing gnomon on the window and painting hour lines on the window facing wall. Since this is to be placed in bedroom I am ...
7
votes
2answers
283 views

Why is getting a tan in the evening less likely than getting a tan in the morning?

When I was young I read one book in which is written that you get more tan on the morning than on evening even light angle from Sun to Earth is the same. Don't remember exact reason, I think because ...
7
votes
2answers
251 views

Entropy of the Sun

Is it possible to measure or calculate the total entropy of the Sun? Assuming it changes over time, what are its current first and second derivatives w.r.t. time? What is our prediction on its ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

How fast will the sun become a red giant?

I've read many accounts of our sun's distant fate, but what I've never heard is on what time scale these events occur. For instance, when the sun runs out of hydrogen, I presume it doesn't just WHAM! ...
6
votes
1answer
47 views

Transit of Mercury: how did he see it?

On November 7, 1631 Pierre Gassendi saw the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun. How did he see it? I mean what instrument was used to reduce the apparent brightness of the Sun?
6
votes
3answers
662 views

How many percent of the visible light reaching the Earth are from other stars than the Sun?

How many percent of the whole visible light reaching the Earth are from other stars than the Sun? Is it maybe 0,5 - 1% or is my guess already too much? I am interested mainly in visible light, but ...
6
votes
3answers
175 views

What frame(s) of reference are used to measure the rotation of the Sun around the galaxy ?

I can find various speeds and estimated durations listed at numerous places but none specifically describe the frame of reference. Possible options as example of kind of answer I expect. Local ...
6
votes
2answers
413 views

Why is the sun so dense?

Looking at the radius and mass of stars on Wikipedia, I see that the Sun is the densest of all, often many times denser than other stars. Is that because only non-dense starts are easily seen from a ...
6
votes
2answers
134 views

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted?

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted? For example, the Sun is expected to increase its radius 250 times. What causes this if its temperature is expected to ...
6
votes
2answers
170 views

Must a vertical sundial face exactly South?

I am a sundial. I'm prepared to bet Your watch can't tell when the sun will set I once heard Frank King talk about sundials in particular this very cool one, which measures Babylonian hours ...
6
votes
1answer
311 views

Has Voyager 1 entered a solar radiation belt?

The Voyager 1 probe was sent out in 1977 to go where no man made object has gone before, after more than 35 years it’s still going strong. It’s now 124 AU away from Earth and many are wondering when ...
6
votes
1answer
479 views

Is there a simple yet accurate formula for where on Earth the Sun and Moon are directly overhead?

I'm trying to improve a site that shows the region of the Earth currently under daylight, and I need a formula that, given the current time, tells where (latitude/longitude) the sun and moon are ...
6
votes
3answers
632 views

Why does the light side of the moon appear not to line up correctly with the evening sun?

I live at roughly 52.4,-2.1. On a sunny evenings I've often looked at the moon and the sun and noticed that the light part of the moon does not appear to line up with the sun. For example, at about ...
6
votes
2answers
391 views

Using energy from sun magnetic field

Knowing ...
6
votes
1answer
43 views

Refraction and scattered light for NLCs

For helping with judging NLC candidates (are they NLC or not) I have a set of formulas to calculate the minimum altitude (in km) of the candidate given an observed altitude (in degrees) of the ...
5
votes
4answers
522 views

The Sun as a gravitational lens

Since the Sun is a gravitational lens with as focal length of 550 AU for visible light, with an immense amplification factor, shouldn't it light up objects hanging out there? We should get solar ...
5
votes
2answers
287 views

Is dark matter really present around the sun?

Recently I read an article that there is dark matter around the sun but if it is so, than why can we see it clearly. If it is called matter than it shall show some hindrance in radiation we receive ...
5
votes
3answers
978 views

Is a water world possible, and for how long could it be stable?

I have several questions regarding this topic. First, could a water world be stable for thousands of years with most of its surface remaining covered in water. What would it take for this to be ...
5
votes
1answer
908 views

Why does the sun “shine brighter” some days?

Today, the sun seems extremely bright; more dazzling than usual, and even the roads seem to be brighter so it's not just when you look up in the sky. Is more light actually getting through (perhaps ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

How close can spaceship get to the Sun

If you want to fly a spaceship with human passengers as close to the Sun as possible, then what effects would the spaceship have to be designed to counteract in order to keep the passengers alive and ...
5
votes
2answers
132 views

Is there any way to anticipate exceptional Aurora Borealis viewing conditions?

I've always wanted to see the Aurora Borealis, but never had the opportunity, since it is so rarely visible in my area (Pennsylvania). However, last week was apparently a rare opportunity of ...
5
votes
1answer
379 views

Reverse Sun position algorithm?

To find the sun's position (elevation, azimuth) we can use many algorithms including the PSA algorithm. These algorithm share the fact that the input is the local time, longitude and latitude and the ...