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Solar Week October 15-19, 2007

View  Glossary
Meet the Scientists
Scientist's Questionnaire
Teacher's Questionnaire
NASA Missions & More!
Teacher's Questionnaire
Monday - The Sun as a Star Tuesday - Solar Close-Ups Wednesday - The Active Sun Thursday - Solar Careers Friday - Eclipse


How hot is the Sun?

Check out some of the answers from our scientists

How hot is the sun's core?

The core of the Sun has a temperature of about 15.6 million Kelvin. The link below shows the various layers of the Sun.

Peel Away

Dawn Myers

How hot is my Sun?

The Sun is different temperatures in different places. At the center it is around 15 million degrees kelvin It cools down from there to about 5800 K at the surface (the photosphere) and the heats up to over a million degrees in the Sun's outer atmosphere (the corona). We still don't completely understand why the corona is so hot.

You can lear more about the Sun by taking the Solar Tour below:

Surfing for Sunbeams

Terry Kucera

How do you know that the core is as hot as you say it is?

We do it by applying the laws of physics to the Sun. We know how massive it is from studying the orbits of the planets. We can tell about how old it must be by studying the Earth. The Earth is a few billion years old, so we figuer the Sun is too. The only energy source which could keep it going that long is nuclear fusion. We put that together with the enourmous pressures which must be at the center of anything so massive and we can figure out the temperature.

We have since come up with other ways of measuring the temperature inside the Sun (using helioseismology), and it seems the calculations were very good.

Terry Kucera
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