The star that we refer to as the Sun creates the possibility of life on Earth and provides so many essential functions regarding humanity’s survival that it is often taken for granted. Without water, almost every living organism would die within days. Move us just a bit closer to the sun and our water supply becomes vapor; move us back just a bit and now it’s solid ice. Neither form is readily consumable for our everyday needs, and the Earth’s precise distance from the Sun is the only reason liquid water exists at all. Likewise, that same distance just discussed allows the temperature of the Earth to remain within acceptable boundaries; Venus the next closest planet to the sun and averages temperatures up to nine hundred degrees Ferinheight. Plants use the sun to complete a process known as photosynthesis, which simply means to convert carbon dioxide and water to produce oxygen. If just one of these factors were affected even slightly, such as the Earth changing its orbit or the sun becoming hotter or cooler, life on Earth would cease to exist.
The birth of our Sun occurred around 4.6 billion years ago with the collapse of a hydrogen molecular cloud, the same formation that eventually gave birth to our solar system and all of the objects contained within it. Primarily composed of hydrogen and helium, the sun is a near perfect sphere that is fuelled by nuclear fusion reactions. As far as stars are concerned the Sun is medium in size, but to give an idea of the sheer mass involved with these objects over one million planets of the Earth’s relative size could easily fit inside the Sun. It is also classified as a population one star, meaning it has minerals present heavier than helium, and this is proven by the levels of uranium and gold found on the Earth when compared to other planets throughout the galaxy. The Sun is thought to be brighter than about 85% of the stars within the Milky Way galaxy.
Of course, the Sun’s composition is much different from the Earth. Within its core, temperatures are estimated to reach temperatures of twenty-seven million degrees Ferinheight and the nuclear reactions that take place keep the Sun’s outer form in constant evolution. Within a single second over seven hundred million tons of hydrogen are converted into helium ash with the release of over five million tons of energy; which would be the equivalent of one hundred trillion tons of dynamite being detonated on Earth each and every second of the day. This violent reaction can continue to take place as long as hydrogen exists to fuel this fission, which is expected to last another five billion years or longer. Once the last traces of hydrogen and helium are depleted, the sun will begin to swell as it converts into a red giant. This process will eventually swallow the Earth and all of the interior planets until suddenly the Sun will collapse and complete its life cycle as a white dwarf.