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Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

Where Does the Sun Get Its Energy?

Where Does the Sun Get Its Energy?

Where does the sun get its energy? The sun is a kind of atomic furnace. Its energy comes from the energy of atoms which are being changed into different forms. The sun’s core is believed to be a super-hot, dense mass of atomic matter. Under these conditions, the crowded jumble of atomic particles smashes into each other violently.

They sometimes ram into each other so hard that they unite in a process called “fusion.” As they fuse, the atomic particles release energy and cause the sun to shine. The sun has enough atomic fuel left to keep on shining for five billion more years!

How is the sun actually fueling itself? It is converting its own mass into energy. By combining protons (the nucleus of hydrogen) into helium, it squeezes some mass into energy – 4.3 billion kg per second. It is Einstein‘s famous E=mc^2 which gives us the quantitative relationship between mass and energy, where c is the speed of light.

How much sun energy hits the earth? Each hour 430 quintillion Joules of energy from the sun hits the Earth. That’s 430 with 18 zeroes after it! In comparison, the total amount of energy that all humans use in a year is 410 quintillion Joules.

What is the energy of the sun? The Sun’s Energy. The Sun releases an estimated 384.6 yotta watts (3.846×1026 watts) of energy in the form of light and other forms of radiation. We are able to survive on Earth because the energy is spread over the area of a sphere with a radius of approximately 93,000,000 miles.

Content for this question contributed by Bill Haven, resident of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA