The Sun

The Sun

2007, Science  -   23 Comments
Ratings: 5.36/10 from 25 users.

The SunApproximately 5 billion years old and just under 333,000 times the mass of Earth, discover the enchanting story of the Sun, the heart of our solar system and the driving force of life on Earth. The Sun is by far the brightest object in the sky. It's so bright that during the day its light drowns out virtually everything else in space. The Sun is so powerful that even from the Earth, its light can damage your eyesight. So never look at the Sun directly or through a telescope.

The best time to appreciate the majesty of the Sun from the Earth is during a solar eclipse. Then the Moon passes in front of the Sun and so it temporarily disappears from the sky. Life on Earth is totally dependent on the the energy it receives from the Sun.

This energy is produced when hydrogen atoms inside the Sun fuse to form helium. The Sun consumes four million tons of hydrogen every second. Even so, it's so vast that our star has enough fuel to keep it shining for another five billion years. The Sun's energy output is estimated to be 386 billion, billion megawatts. So in 15 minutes our Sun radiates as much energy as mankind consumes in all forms, during an entire year.

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23 Comments / User Reviews

  1. DustUp

    @Icculus574 Just because you went to some school or read some words, means what? What does it mean if all that info you sucked up was wrong? I don't claim to know much for sure because there is no way for any of us to know much for sure.

    Having listened to a very bright fellow who was asked to investigate the sun for a govt agency, he claimed what we view of the sun is more of a porthole through which solar stuff is transmitted. I've read scientists who claim that the theory of the sun being a big ball of burning gas is not so. It is so true that an easy way to get into trouble is not what we know but what we think we know that isn't so. For people, that is a large bit.

    Who are we to believe? Couldn't say. Why is it so important to need to believe a particular THEORY? Why not just be happy not knowing? I ask in general because when a scientific theory is found to be incorrect, which most eventually are, in favor of a better one, too often it is like pulling teeth to get people to let loose of some inaccurate ideas they decided to buy into and include into their "world view" or of how things work. To have confidence in something that a number of scientists who accepted what some scientist before them claimed and keep parroting that until most accept it only means we are too accepting of what supposed "experts and authorities" claim. Experts can make what seems to be an iron clad evidence based case for something and it still be wrong.

    For instance people still believe the earth surface is spherical shaped. Is there real evidence for that or passed on parroting which people have accepted without question because why would they tell us something that was untrue? Why indeed! Just because everybody accepts something as true has no bearing on the actual truth.

    Columbus' theory of the reason ships disappear without sailing off the edge of the earth is based on the mistaken view that as a ship sails off into the distance, the bottom goes out of view and eventually the top of the sail disappears. That doesn't happen. Like any object the further away it travels from you, the smaller it appears, in all dimensions. In the days of sailing ships, the sails were a larger percentage of the view so they "appeared" to disappear last. The amount of water vapor in the air above the ocean also limits the viewable distance. Grab a good telescope and travel to a location along the ocean to where the land mass sticks out into the ocean 10 - 40 miles away, such as a peninsula or across a bay or lake on a very clear day. Based on the supposed radius and curvature of the earth calculate how tall of an object such as building or tower you should be able to see the top part of, subtracting out the height your view is from the ocean level. Can you see something that should be out of sight due to the supposed curvature of the earth? Why would anyone do such an unnecessary experiment since everyone already knows that all objects that are below the curvature related height cannot be seen? Is that true? Not at all. Those who claim that to be ridiculous have not done the experiment and have no legitimate right to scoff. Those landlocked individuals could find a long stretch of flat road a similar distance away from some viewable object. Those that perform such an experiment will learn a valuable lesson about science and what is taught as science. If you are still having motivational issues... if you take a large clear flexible tube half filled with water and flex it slightly in a convex shape upward, the surface of the water will be level and the depths of water deeper on each end of the tube. Why wouldn't this same situation occur on a lake, being flat level all the way across, regardless of how large the lake is? Why would that concept change for a much larger body of water called an ocean? Because a sphere of water is pushed on all sides relatively equally thereby maintaining its spherical shape? Still presupposing spherical without evidence. Even NASA states its photos of earth are composites.

    Are we truly spinning through space a thousands of miles per hour? How can that be when a hurricane of a couple hundred miles per hour and less does so much damage? Yes, yes, more silly theories to account for that. Truly like pulling teeth to get someone to look closer at what they were only told by someone else, a parroting teacher, in the first place.

    One should ask themselves why Tesla's theories of electricity are not taught. He was one of the masters of electricity. Why not teach what he had to offer? Rather than believing the Bankster propaganda JP Morgan promoted via his media, intended to steer people away from Tesla, one would do well to read Tesla and watch some of Tesla's experiments that others have replicated.

    Having been exposed to a fair bit of this and that, I cannot help but conclude that much of what we are taught is bogus or there being much more to the story not told and unnecessarily so. Why would that be? Who gains from our ignorance or brainwashing? Who indeed! We should all endeavor to find out and rid ourselves of at least that much of what we don't know.

    We are told that we cannot get more energy out of a system than we put in. This is clearly untrue. An ordinary heat pump disproves that right off. It concentrates the heat in the air using a smaller amount of electrical energy "we provide", to do so, than the heat made available. One could say that a heat pump is another type of solar collector. The solar panels provide a fair bit more energy than "we" input to generate the electricity.

    Sadly scientists arrogantly think they understand and therefore can control. Look what havoc they have wreaked upon the world. Pollution far and wide. The Japanese nuclear plants are still spewing and dumping radioactivity upon the planet. Why don't we continue to hear about this and how to at least moderately protect yourself from long term exposure?

    The search for knowledge and/or truth is a personal journey. The mistake is to rely on accepted THEORIES and media without question. Far too much has been corrupted, knowingly and unknowingly.

    What is the sun? Where do the solar rays originate? Is it a burning gas? Hard to say and I am fine with that. The more you know, if you are honest, the more you realize you don't know. There are some things, many things really, that one will never know, so get used to it.

  2. Jeff S

    This documentary has some nice pictures but all in all it is a pretty terrible effort. Many of the explanations given are half-baked, they have some incredibly unscientific statements that for some reason were included (the architect talking about human evolution and the native american chief talking about how volcanoes are the earth telling us its tired!).


  3. phillip wong

    I like the pictures, video clips of the sun 's surface. Beautiful.

  4. Greg Mattson


    pretty cool documentary, until it wandered into the solar power bit. I was much more interested to hear about what happens to our power stations, transformers, power lines, etc, when a huge CME like the 'carrington event' occurs, and how hardened we are against it. In 1859 it caused telegraph stations to catch fires, and telegraphs to signal even when the equipment is turned off.

    Now.. who knows how bad it would get.

  5. bobthebboy

    if sun spots are the closest part to the sun surface then how come their black this seems to indicate that the surface is cooler than the than the out flame that covers it,its disappointing when theory is presented as fact the argument that the sun is an ionised ball of plasma electrically charge by galactic core is something they didnt even mention this theory also is very interesting and and can be explained with scientific principals that are equally convincing

    1. Icculus574

      Sunspots aren't really black, they're still blindingly bright. It just looks black in comparison to the area around it because it's slightly cooler.

      The reason it's cooler is because the magnetic field inside a sunspot is so strong that it pushes on the gas around the spot. Since the gas inside the spot can expand to fill that area without being required to exert as much pressure to achieve equilibrium, it cools.

      If you're ignorant on a subject, don't try to be condescending towards people who know far more about it than you do. Ask about it and try to learn.

    2. bobthebboy

      post reply but realised i should have posted as a reply here so put this in so you receive notice of my reply

    3. Icculus574

      I apologize if I misinterpreted your intended tone, but saying, "its disappointing when theory is presented as fact" comes across as extremely condescending in this situation -- not to mention that such a statement illustrates a gross misunderstanding of what the scientific definition of 'theory' is.

      They didn't bother mentioning it for a number of reasons. The problem is that plasma cosmology, as far as I've been able to research from reading and hearing from proponents, doesn't have a solid framework. It can sound very professional, but the physics and astronomy tend to be a bit 'wishy-washy'; by that I mean there are very few mathematical predictions (with many equations actually being applied incorrectly) and terminology is often jumbled together and confused. That being said, I will try my best to address the issues you specifically posited in your post.

      The first major point is that fusion does not take place on the surface. Fusion takes place in the core. There is simply not enough heat and pressure to power fusion on the surface of the sun. The sun does have strong and extremely complex electromagnetic fields, but it’s because of the complex fluid-like nature of the plasma that it is comprised of.

      Secondly, the solar cycle can still be directly tied to the amount of fusion going on inside of the core. Energy is released in a fusion reaction which can create a pulsing effect. However, this effect would not be apparent in the magnitude of visible light output changing on the surface because it takes between 10,000 and 200,000 years for a photon (due to its electrical properties) to make it to the surface so the increase and decrease in light emission would be smoothed out whereas the neutrinos (due to being electrically neutral) would have a far easier time escaping so they would not share such a gradient.

      As for the rest of your post, you’ve made broad statements without any true specifics and spent the other half of the post committing ad verecundiam(since these quotes don’t actually provide any value and serve only to name drop). Just because a prominent scientist disagrees with consensus, doesn’t mean his or her beliefs should be given more weight than those who are not as famous. Science, as an overall trend, gives credit for data, not ego; take a look at Einstein and quantum mechanics.

      You can try to deflect by saying you don’t subscribe to any theory, but while that can be appropriate in some cases, in others it's either disingenuous or an utter waste of time. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt with my response despite the fact that you came on to comment on this documentary with the expressed intent of promoting such a hypothesis. However, there is a reason that such ideas are ignored by the mainstream and it’s not due to a giant conspiracy by ‘the man’ to keep this under wraps.

      On a final note, I'm sorry I took so long to reply. I've been very busy and wanted to get a chance to read the rebuttal you mentioned of Tim Thompson as well as the site that the rebuttal was directed at. The rebuttal was a joke. For instance, it states that we have never created fusion in a laboratory. We first successfully performed fusion in a lab about 80 years ago. The problem with synthetic fusion generation is not a matter of nuclear physics, it's a matter of being able to create a container to hold the reaction in for any prolonged period of time since we don't have the luxury of using a massive gravity well like a star does.

    4. bobthebboy

      thanks for reply and apology. id just like to say i didn't post my comment to promote anything, but to let people know their is more than one view to the mechanics of the suns and unless we are open to other possibilities with all things in our understanding of the universe and our place within it then we may shut ourself off to learning something new or evolving the understandings that we already have. as you know we have not worked it all out and if we had then we would not have these divisions that we have within in the scientific community. i dont think it a conspiracy i just think were still learning

    5. Icculus574

      We can be open to other possibilities without chasing every hypothesis no matter how broken or ill-defined. The vast majority of the standard model is no more divisive in physics than evolution is in biology. You could argue that a handful of scientists in the field might not subscribe to it, but saying that there are divisions in the scientific community is really misleading.

      Could we be wrong about evolution or the standard model? Sure, but it's far more likely that we are right in the same way Newton was right about gravity. It's almost certain that the details and our understanding of the implications will evolve (no pun intended), but not to the point where we literally throw out everything we know and embrace something entirely different as the hypothesis you linked to would propose. This is especially true when the hypothesis is weak in predictive ability, structural foundation, and logical and mathematical analysis.

  6. JK

    No wonder why many ancient civilizations adore the sun.

  7. Laurence


  8. BBC

    Great doc, the desert is a good place for all those ugly dishes. i still remember when solar power calculators came out. what an invention. hahaha

  9. Yavanna

    Woot was about to submit this doc for upload and here it is - All must bow before the mighty V!

  10. orin

    this video was superb...

  11. Forrest W

    seen this 3X now just gets better and the amazing footage and layman science is top 10 for me also

  12. Charles B.

    Wow! Awesome! A "10" from me. I've know for a long time that I get S.A.D. in the winter (seasonal affected disorder) so I can't wait for my vacation, and then to the tropics I go for 2 months. No computer; no documentaries; lots of sun! :-)

  13. Tony

    If I was religious, I'd pray to the sun. Seems to me to few people realize just how insignificant humans are.

    1. winston

      The sun is what men have worshiped since time immemorial.And for good reason; without the sun crops would not grow and man would continue to be at the mercy of nighttime predators. The 'Son of Man' is indeed a direct descendant of the sun of man. The whole of Christian iconography was in fact originally completely based on astronomical phenomena. The rebirth of the sun of god (man) is what men made offerings and sacrifices for. From the ancient near east and Egypt to the Maya men have all had this same concern in mind and all of their myths are based on the rebirth of the sun. For origins of the Christian tradition, check out the book THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SON OF MAN by Robert Price. It goes over the solar origins of much of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    2. CapnCanard

      Winston, nice post. December 21th is the shortest day of the year and the day doesn't begin to get longer until the 25th. This is why the sun is said to be "born" on December 25th as the sun seems to grow as days get longer in the northern latitudes. Almost all cultures celebrated this, but then evil Christianity co-opted and erased those traditional interpretations and beliefs, presumably because such beliefs are based on observation and questioning. Instead of relying on what the Religious Authoritarians demand of followers. i.e. faith, or unquestioning belief. In the traditional story the sun then reaches middle age on June 21 for the summer solstice. and as days get shorter as old man winter creeps up in and then a new year is born again. Christianity has always been fairy tale. I would recommend the work of an academic with the pen name of Archarya S. aka D.M. Murdock. The religious stories are destroyed by all those inconvenient facts.

  14. Achems Razor

    I love our Sun also, even thou it is a small class 4 star. The largest star to date is LBV 1806-20 it is 150 times the mass of our Sun. It shines 40 million times brighter than our Sun. The second is the pistol star at 6 million times brighter.

  15. Bojan

    Our sun is my favorite :)

  16. Tyne

    Awesome video