How Does The Sun Produce Energy

How Does The Sun Produce Energy

The sun is, in essence, a giant fusion reactor generating gravitational pull from its core that is the basis behind its continued heat and light generation. Consisting primarily of helium and hydrogen the intense gravitational forces located at the center of the gas giant compress the two atoms together, generating energy from the combining of these and the subsequent destruction of the two atoms as separate entities. The resulting reaction radiates energy in the form of heat and light outward through increasingly less intense reactions until it leaves the sun and travels into space.

The center of this intense reaction is extremely hot – roughly 15 million degrees Celsius or 19 million degrees Fahrenheit. This intense heat allows for the atoms at the core to constantly be fused and re-formed due to the high level of activation energy surrounding the process. This is much hotter than any fission process found in conventional nuclear power plants due to the fact that the splitting of an atom results in the destruction of the core particle in order to harness the energy therein while the sun acts to generate new particles constantly for an unending energy creation cycle on an immensely larger scale than anything we encounter terrestrially.

As the heat and light leaves the core it does get progressively and rapidly cooler until it finally leaves its generation point. At the surface of the sun, for instance, the temperature would read a mere 5,500 degrees Celsius or 9,900 degrees Fahrenheit – again both extreme heats yet still less than 0.5% of that at the core.

Occasionally as energy is released from the central core it can trigger uncontrollable reactions on the surface due to intense energy fluctuations. These reactions to the energy released manifest themselves as solar flares, or buildups of both radiation and energy just under the surface that erupt in spectacular displays roughly 10 million times greater than a volcanic eruption found here on earth, emitting intense heat, light and radiation as they do so. This radiation can actually be strong enough to interfere with certain radio signals on the surface of our planet as well as some other sensitive electronics though at the same time are generally no real threat due to the fact that the total energy in one eruption is less than 10% of the actual energy released by the sun every second.

Solar flares and most other energy release points can be found primarily around the sun’s equator or central region where gravitational spin is the strongest. This is due to the fact that this area allows for far more compression overall of the helium and hydrogen atoms necessary for the sun’s fusion process to complete and, as a result, more energy is generated on a regular basis. This is also why planets generally form in an orbit around the sun thanks to the same gravitational pull and utilize the star’s energy for their own purposes, much like the Earth’s ecosystem relies upon the sun for the energy it needs to sustain itself.



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