How the Sun Produces Light and Heat

How the Sun Produces Light and Heat

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When we look up into the sky, what do we see? During the day, we often will find the sun. The sun is much more than a ball of fire that we see in our daily lives. The sun gives earth life, from the condition of the season to the life that is produced. Overall, when we think of the sun we think of heat and light but one might question; how does the sun produce the heat and light that is necessary for earth to sustain life? The sun is also known as a star, just like the stars we see at night that illuminate the night sky. Stars are categorized by the Stellar Classification system, which accounts for spectra appearances from the light of star. According to the chart, the Sun is considered a G2 V, the G class of stars have a temperature between “5200 to 6000 K and have a weaker hydrogen line and neutral metals,” (“Stellar Classification,” 2014). A common name for the Sun is the dwarf star, and “the V classification indicates that the sun is a main-line sequence star and generates energy by nuclear fusion,” (“Sun,” 2014). Similar to the Earth’s structure, the Sun is made up of an inner core and atmosphere, having an understanding of the structure of the Sun will help in understanding how heat and light are produced.
The inner most lay of the Sun is known as “the core.” The core of the Sun helps to begin the generation of heat and light, which feeds the Earth’s life. The inner most portion of the sun has the highest temperature and the most pressure. Based upon the category of the Sun in the stellar classification, it is made up of hydrogen and generates energy from nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion reaction is “when two or more small light nuclei combine to form a larger nucleus,” (Young, 2012). The hydrogen atoms perform nuclear fusion and form a helium atom, but how does this happen? There are several sets nuclear reactions that occur before the helium atom is formed, also known as the proton-proton chain reaction.
“1. Two protons combine to form a deuterium atom (hydrogen atom with one neutron and one proton), a positron (electron with a positive charge) and a neutrino. 2. A proton and a deuterium atom combine to form a helium-3 atom (two protons and one neutron) and a gamma ray.

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3. Two helium-3 combine to form a helium-4 atom (two protons and two neutrons) and two protons,” (Layton and Fruedenrich, 2000).
In addition to the nuclear fusion reactions take place, energy is being produced from mass in that E=mc2, so the energy in turn will help to produces an outward pressure and the inward pressure is produced by a gradational attraction to help keep the sun stable motion (“The Life-Giving Sun”, 2002). During the fusion reaction, not only is a larger atom produced but the high energy photon gamma rays are produced. The gamma ray photon is given off the decay of beta particle during the second phase of the reaction, similar to (n p + ß- + ve). After the decay occurs it will leave the nucleus in an excited state which can then decay to a grounded state by emitting a photon gamma ray (Young, 2012).
The next layer of the sun is known as the radioactive layer which is the first part of the solar envelope, and “accounts for 45% of the sun’s radius,” (Layton and Fruedenrich, 2000). The photon gamma rays leave the core of the sun and travel through the radiation zone by way of electromagnetic radiation. The radioactive layer is often cooler that inner core of the sun, it is here that photons can reproduce in a sense. When the photon is released, it is absorbed by a gas molecule, heated and then reemits another photon of the same wavelength, as photons are absorbed and dispersed each cycle take a significant amount of time (Layton and Fruedenrich, 2000). The photon production is important but movement of the photons occurs with the use electromagnetic wave, the movement of waves circulates through space from one region to another (Young, 2012). The circulation of light is described by the wave, photons move along an electromagnetic wave which carries the energy. The movement of the photon is known as electromagnetic radiation in that electrical charge in an accelerated motion caused by the high temperature within the sun (Young, 2012). At the high temperatures within the radiative layer of sun allows the visible light to appear. The movement of the photon is known as electromagnetic radiation in that electrical charge in an accelerated motion caused by the high temperature within the sun. The equation E=cB and c=1/√(Ɛoµ0) can be applied because the energy carrying waves and “the electromagnectic wavees propagates the photon particles traveling through space carrying the emitted radiant energy,” (“Electromagetic radiation,” 2014).



Works Cited

1. Cain, F. (2008, January 1). What Kind of Star is the Sun. Retrieved January 1, 2014, from http://www.universetoday.com/16350/what-kind-of-star-is-the-sun/
2. Sun. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved 9 May 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun
3. The Life-Giving Sun. (2002, January 1). The Life-Giving Sun. Retrieved May 11, 2014, from http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/ita/07_2.shtml
4. Young, H. (2012). College physics. (9th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Education.
5. Layton, Julia, and Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.. "How the Sun Works" 17 October 2000. HowStuffWorks.com. http://science.howstuffworks.com/sun.htm. 10 May 2014.
6. Windows to the Universe team. The Sun. Boulder, CO: © 2010 National Earth Science Teachers Association, 2012. Online. . 10 May 2014.
7. Electromagnetic radiation. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved 11 May 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_radiation#Maxwell.E2.80.99s_equations_for_EM_fields_far_from_sources

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