We know that the sun is very important to us but the main question is why. We all understand that the sun supplies Earth with never ending energy that we use in multiple ways. The energy comes in as heat and light and we transform the energy in different ways to create electricity. But how is the energy created and how it gets to Earth? The formation of sun’s energy lies within its core and radiates outward and travels out to Earth and the rest of the solar system.
Our sun is the central part of our solar system; if the sun didn’t exist several things wouldn’t occur: the process of photosynthesis would not take place, oxygen cannot be created, therefore, life cannot be present. The sun and its sunlight give us access to many resources. Sunlight helps the plants produce oxygen and overtime create fossil fuels. The importance of the sun is both positive and negative, the more we study and understand the sun we learn to advance our society.
The suns positive effects help us find and progress ways to gain renewable resources, such as creating wind power, dams and solar energy. The negative effects of the sun include climate changes and damaging of the ozone, and harmful effects on humans that result in sunburn, eye damage, and damaging of the skin: skin cancer and premature aging. The sun produces two different Ultraviolet Radiations (UV rays), UVA and UVB. The sun effects earth in many ways to carry on life and that’s why it is very important. It gives us the privilege to energy: heat and light, oxygen, water, electricity, and many more. It’s truly amazing how this star of gas can create many things to save our life’s and it is important that we understand the reasons why, and not always take it for granted. Who knows scientist say that after another 5 billion years there may not be a sun anymore.
The sun plays the most essential role for all living species on Earth, without the sun there would be no existence of life on Earth. Without the sun what would happen to Earth? What will happen to the rest of the Solar System? The questions are important to know and answer. The sun is important in many ways, not only does the sun provides Earth with heat and light, it gives us various things that allow us to live. The understanding of how the sun works, and provides Earth with so many different resources that is significant in our everyday lives. The sun supplies energy through heat and gives Earth light, it is the number one reason we are alive because it helps create oxygen, in which we breathe in order to live. The importance of the all the things the sun offers Earth are positive and negative. Almost all of the energy used on the Earth comes originally from the sun. Astronomers studied the sun in several ways, understanding its functions and applying it to our world today. The study of the sun has led us to many understandings in science and advanced us in technology development. The more we understand the sun the more appreciative we become.
It is believed that the sun is 5 billion years old star; it formed when gravity drew together an enormous cloud of gas and dust. This gravitational pull released energy and heated the Sun. The sun is huge and has a continuous release of energy; Earth only receives a small portion of that energy. The suns energy is produced by hydrogen fusion which is the sequence of thermonuclear reactions in which four hydrogen nuclei combine to produce a single helium nucleus. This fusion process in the sun is known as the proton-proton chain. (Cooke, 1985) Today, the sun still consists of mostly hydrogen. This means that the fuel supply which has ‘burned’ through the first 5 billion years should be good enough for another 5 billion for the future. Fusion is the energy source that can only provide this energy rate for more than 5 billion years. Fusion requires high temperatures and high pressure to begin and carry out the process. Energy is transferred in the sun, through gamma rays photons that are produced by fusion in the core. Then energy is carried away from the suns core by radiative diffusion and convection. Radiative diffusion is the energy that is transported by photons flowing from hot, bright regions to cold, dark regions. Convection zone is farther away from the core of the sun. The Convection zone carries energy up to the surface. It allows hot fluids rise and the cold fluids to sink, overturning and bubbling like a boiling pot of water. The photosphere is heated and light is released from the sun; it takes about 1 million years for the light to be released and 8 minutes for that light to reach Earth. Earth receives Light and heat created by the sun.
Starting from outside of earth and in our solar system, the sun already begins to have a very important position. Everything in our solar system orbits the sun. If that sun were not to exist, all the planets would have nothing to orbit around. But if there was no sun, nothing would keep all the planets in orbit. It is the gravity of the sun allows pulls all the planets in its orbit. The same as the moon orbiting the Earth, the moon is pulled in Earth’s orbit. Earth travels in an elliptical orbit around the sun because the velocity of Earth moves in a perpendicular path due to the force of the sun’s pull. If the sun wasn’t present, Earth would travel in a straight line. (Jordan, 2003) Due to the present’s sun and its gravity, it causes Earth to travel around the sun, in almost a circle.
Without the sun the Earth will be dark, and cold. We wouldn’t be able to even survive in extremely freezing weather and permanent darkness. As we know the sun produces light and heat, these two products are very essential to Earth in several ways. The sun helps produce a significant product for all life to occur, oxygen. Without sunlight green plants cannot exist because the process of photosynthesis cannot occur. Photosynthesis is a chemical process which water and carbon dioxide combine together (only in the presence of both sunlight and chlorophyll – the chemical that makes the leaves in plants green) to produce glucose and oxygen. (Perles, 2011) Plants take in sunlight, convert it to food to live on, and grow. During the process that plants convert the sunlight to food, plants release oxygen, in which we breathe. If there were to be no existence of sunlight, then the process of photosynthesis cannot take place. Plants could not produce energy for them to survive, which means they cannot produce oxygen and they would disappear. Not only would plants disappear but people and animals would also vanish, because they depend on green plants for food and oxygen to breathe. A simple way to put it is, the food chain begins with plants to animals to humans and without the process of photosynthesis there could be no life on Earth.
The sunlight did more than just allow plants to drive out the process of photosynthesis. But after the plants decay and millions and millions of years pass, buried under the ground is their decomposed organic materials: coal, petroleum, and natural gas. (Perles, 2011) Sunlight is a major factor for fossil fuels. The sunlight allowed us to have access to fossil fuels that are very important in our everyday life; we use fossil fuels as one of our energy sources.
As we discovered the importance of the sun to the Earth, yet the effects that the sun creates on Earth are both positive and negative. Some positive features of the sun are mainly from its release of energy. The sun is the starting point of the water cycle. The sun heats Earths water bodies (oceans, seas, lakes, rivers) and that causes the water to evaporate. The water vapor transforms into clouds (condensation), and then the water descend from the clouds as precipitation and back into the bodies of water or on land and the cycle starts over again. Another positive result we gain from the sun is wind; wind is created through the method when sunlight heats the bodies of water and land. Earth’s atmosphere also heats, the warm air rises and the cool air moves to replace the rising warm air. During this transition of warm and cool are is what makes the wind blow. (Stern, 2004)
Understanding and studying the sun in its production of wind and water helped us advance in new technology. Through studies of the wind and how it is created by the sun, studies lead us to use the wind to generate electricity to use. Wind is classified as a solar energy and is a renewable resource, because it is ever ending. Wind power or wind energy is the conversion of wind into mechanical or electrical power. Wind turbines is the system that runs the technology, giant windmill devices that are placed in windy locations called wind farms. (EPA, 2010) The turbines twirl and as the wind blows and creates electricity that power generators and produces electrical power. Two other forms of technology that creates electrical power are dams and solar cells. Dams or hydropower is another renewable energy source. “Hydropower is the renewable energy source that produces the most electricity in the United States.”(EPA, 2010) Hydropower depends on the water cycle that the sun carries through. The energy is carried in the flow of water in the river. Water is carried through pipes (penstocks) and then pushed up against a blade of a turbine that turns and spins a generator to produce electricity. The sunlight can be transformed to electricity directly by using photovoltaic cells (solar cells). Photovoltaic cells are electrical devices that convert energy in the sunlight directly into electricity at the atomic level. (Stern, 2004) This is a newer form technology that is advancing our lives today. Photovoltaic cells are used for solar heating on houses. They are placed on the roof of the home to heat the home and water. More recent technology that is becoming very popular is electric cars. Photovoltaic cells are advancing our world because it helps reduce the use of our non-renewable resources.
Aside from all the positive results of the sun, the sun has many negative results on Earth. Studies show that the sun is the cause of climate change and some damage of the ozone. Both activities of humans that take place on Earth and the solar output from the sun are found to cause climate change. (Danny, 2008) The sun is massive and powerful, both the pollution and gasses released from the people and the power of the sun created a large hole in the ozone layer. In the past half century climate temperatures have gone up in result of this. Climate will change due to the damage the sun is causing to the ozone, the temperatures on Earth will continue to rise and natural disasters will become stronger.
The sun negatively on the humans too, giving them sunburns, eye damage, and damaging the skin leading to skin cancer and premature aging. Ultraviolet Radiation (UV rays) is the light that is projected by the sun; the UV rays are what is responsible for the sunburns, skin cancer and eye damage. The atmosphere is responsible for determining the amount of UV light that is received. There are two types of UV rays that are projected by the sun. UVA rays are less harmful rays but they are not absorbed by the ozone layer. These rays are long wavelengths that cause skin tan, and age prematurely. They are dangerous because they penetrate deep into the skin. UVB rays are more severe than UVA rays, even though these rays are partly absorbed by the ozone layer. They cause sunburn. Overtime the more exposure to these rays cause skin cancer. The light from the rays damages the DNA of the skin cells, which disables the cells from making proteins. (Mazzucco, 2006) Ultimately the DNA transforms completely, the new DNA is duplicated and causes cancer. UVB rays also help your body create vitamin D, which is important because it helps keep bones from becoming fragile. Even though vitamin D is in some foods, vitamin D from the sun is quicker and efficient for the body. Moreover the fact that vitamin D is produced by the sun and our bodies need it, the risks that lie in the rays of the sun are hazardous. Our exposure to the sun needs to be monitored to save our health.
The sun is a powerful and prominent star in our solar system. The sun does so much for Earth; life cannot carry on without it. The sun provides us with so much and the more we understand the sun the more we are able to advance from our findings. We are able progress in our society and live better lives as we know where to use our resources. As time proceeds, we may find findings to overcome the negative effects of the sun. The more we learn about our brilliant sun we also learn to be grateful for it more and not to always take it for granted, because in about 5 billion years it is presumed that the sun will die and Earth will no longer live.