Where Does the Sun Get Its Energy From?
Solar energy comes from the energy of atoms that are constantly changing into different forms. The sun looks like a great ball of fire, but it is really a mass of hot, glowing gases. If the sun were a solid lump of coal, it would have burned itself out long ago.
We now know that the sun is a kind of atomic furnace. The sun’s core is believed to be a super-hot, extremely dense mass of atomic matter. Under these conditions, hydrogen atoms collide with each other and unite to form atoms of helium.
In the process known as nuclear fusion reaction, some of the matter is changed into the sun’s light and heat, form of energy that gets released and radiates outward toward the surface of the Sun and then into the solar system beyond it.
All the energy that the Sun produces, scientists estimate that Earth receives only about two billionths of it. Of that amount, about a third is reflected back into space by clouds and snow.
A little over 40% warms Earth, while about 25% is used by the water cycle. Winds and ocean currents absorb about 1%, while all the plants on Earth use only about 0.023% for photosynthesis!