Talk:Sun/Archive 1

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See also

I would understand if you had a list that said, "Bodies in the solar system:" but instead the title is "see also:" Why does it say:

See also:

  • Sun

If we do this, then we might as well put this on every article:

See also:

  • This article

I think putting a different title than "see also:" is the better way to go.

True, that; the standard approach for the others seems to be putting this under the external links section:

Solar system:
Sun - Mercury - Venus - Earth - Mars - Asteroids - Jupiter - Saturn - Uranus - Neptune - Pluto - Comets

with the divider included, so I'll try it that way. -- John Owens 22:06 Apr 4, 2003 (UTC)
Hmm, it would work better without the section at the bottom about other uses of Sun, but it might do. -- John Owens
I agree, the other uses of Sun are annoying. In fact I find all "other uses of article" to be annoying in articles I read. oh well.

oh $hit, sorry, I didn't realize that all solar system objects had the same thing at the bottom including the "self-link". sorry about that, revert if you like, then go from there. A self-link actually wouldn't be bad. It was the ugly bolded Sun part that looked kind of annoying.

No, they don't include a self-link, I cut & pasted from Mercury for that so I figured it'd look silly if Mercury was bolded in the example. But I didn't change Sun like it would be in keeping with the others, that's why it wasn't bold in the example above. -- John Owens

I just saw what you did, it looks better than what was there before. I think because the See also: was on the same link as the Sun before, so it looked a bit messy. But now there is a space, as well as the divider. cool.

Poor Yoric, I don't think it's a good idea to load up the table with all those random factoids. Wikipedia:WikiProject Astronomical Objects has a template for data about stars, and the more stuff the Sun's table gets cluttered up with the more it diverges from that. I'd suggest trying to work them into the body of the article's text instead. Bryan

What does "Atoms undergoing chemical reaction to generate Luminosity" actually mean, anyway? There are no chemical reactions in the Sun, it is composed of plasma. Bryan

Quote from the article:

"This releases energy which escapes from the surface of the Sun as light."

This statement is very misleading as it seems to suggest that energy ONLY escapes from the Sun as light, whereas energy is actually emitted from the Sun across most of the electromagnetic spectrum.

It is also to a much smaller extent released as the kinetic and thermal energy of solar wind plasma. I'll try rewriting the line. Bryan 03:16, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Is there a reason that the Sun's vital statistics give its diameter but those of the planets give their radius? Marnanel 06:53, Apr 2, 2004 (UTC)

Can we put something on the sun's place within the galaxy and upwards in it? i.e. the sun itself rotates around the centre of a galaxy known as the milky way with a centre...(talk)--BozMo 20:27, 10 May 2004 (UTC)

I have copied over a little bit of info from Solar system to address this, but I'd like to see more information about how the Sun formed. Eric Forste 01:01, 1 Aug 2004 (UTC)
That sounds like a song, and I do believe there is a similar song. Let's see... Sun Song is not it. It's not in The Astronomer's Song Book. Maybe I'm thinking of Monty Python's The Galaxy SEWilco 03:56, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

Quote from the article: "3.9 × 10^45 atoms undergo nuclear reactions there every second" If this were true, the energy output per nuclear reaction would be somewhat less than 1 eV. If we calculate the number of fused hydrogen atoms from the solar power ouput we get about 3.8 × 10^38. Sure, it's less per atom involved in a single reaction (hydrogen first fuses so deuterium and then some more reactions occur), but the energy output of a single reaction is certainly much higher than 1 eV. I'll rewrite that sentence. 14:51, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The Chart of the Nuclides allows one to compute the mass defect as 4*1.00782504-4.0026033=0.0286969 amu (~0.72%), which translates into 4.28277 pJ or 26.7310 MeV. If the solar luminosity is 382.7 YW, then this means we have 8.936E+37 helions per second being produced. The number of individual reactions is triple that for the p-p chain, quadruple for the CNO chain.
Urhixidur 23:38, 2004 Sep 6 (UTC)

time left for the sun

can someone add info about estimates on how much longer the sun will exist before it dies? thanks! Kingturtle 03:49, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Ahem!!! I was just wondering this. You want a thing done right you gotta do it yrself, holmes =) Yeago 22:44, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Shouldn't the main photographical illustration be a visible-light image of the Sun, rather than an X-ray one? A nice one showing some sunspots and chromosphere will be much better than an X-ray image that looks nothing like one might see in a telescope.

-New Comment- Articles on the remaining life of the sun give conflicting estimates of the life. Britannica 2004 (DVD version) and previous versions of that publication give the remaining life as 100 billion years, based on the amount of hydrogen currently in the sun and the rate of burning. Scientific American, in a July 2004 article, gives the remaining life as only 5 billion years. Of course, both can't be right. I've also read other estimates, such as 10 billion years. The 5 billion year estimate assumes that only the hydrogen in the sun's core will be burned. I only have a bachelors in physics, so I don't have the expertise to say which estimate is right, but I lean toward the 100 billion year figure.

Quoting from the Britannica article: A calculation of the time required to convert all the hydrogen in the Sun provides an estimate of the length of time for which the Sun can continue to radiate energy. Converting 0.7 percent of the 2 × 1033 grams of hydrogen into energy that is radiated at 4 × 1033 ergs per second permits the Sun to shine for 3 × 1018 seconds, or 100 billion years at the present rate.

S.L., 4/4/2006, Fridley, Minnesota, USA

Unfortunately the naive rate is off by about an order of magnitude (depending on what you are looking for): the core of the Sun is not convective, so there is little mixing with the other parts of the star. The core will exhaust its hydrogen long before a naive calculation would suggest, causing the core to collapse and increase in temperature until the helium begins to fuse. When that happens, the outer layers will expand, making the star a red giant -- even though the outer envelope will still be primarily composed of hydrogen. zowie 04:33, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

H-Bombs and Sustainable Energy?

Just how relevant is "Physicists are able to replicate thermonuclear reactions with hydrogen bombs. Sustained nuclear fusion on Earth for electricity generation may be possible in the future, with nuclear fusion reactors."? I hesitate to delete it, because having more information is usually better than having less, but I thought I'd point out how strikingly awkward that inclusion is.

solar rotation

With regard to the Sun page, I was using Allen's Astrophysical quantities for the solar rotation, and the recommended value was 25.38 days. Looking at the rotation periods determined by a whole list of methods, that value had a standard deviation of about 0.6 days. (See solar rotation) Do we want to carry it out to seven decimal places? Also I saw the edit

" This makes it possible for the Sun to rotate faster at its equator

 (about 24 days) than it does at higher latitudes (28 days near its poles)."

Don't you mean about 25 days? I just want to make sure I know what you did there before I go and re-edit. Paul Reiser 04:27, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The 24 day figure came from; go ahead and double-check as this could be a typo. The IAU/IAG paper specifies the rotations for the gas giants as being magnetospheric, but doesn't say so for the Sun; it could very well be this is just an "average" equatorial surface feature period. I had been using too many digits (the IAU/IAG paper gave nine significant digits to all rotation rates, but buried in the text is a mention that added zeroes are not actually significant), so I trimmed it back to the IAU value of 14.1844 degrees per day, which works out to 25.3800 days (these two zeroes are significant, this time).
Urhixidur 04:46, 2005 Jan 4 (UTC)

I'm still suspicious of so many digits, given that all those different methods give such varying results, but so be it. I'm sure, however, that the scienceworld quote is wrong. The relationship between solar synodic and sidereal periods is

where D' is synodic period, D is sidereal period, and Y is orbital period of the earth (1 year). Using D=25.38 days, Y=365.25 days, I get D'=27.275267... days. Scienceworld and Allen quote 27.2753, and the old quote from the sun page was equivalent to 27.275 days, so everything fits. I will change the 24 to 25. Paul Reiser 11:49, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for clearing that up. You are rightly suspicious of the extra two digits in the IAU rotation period; I'm pretty sure this only an agreed-upon rotation value used to define the heliographic coordinate system. The Sun's true equatorial rotation period is probably somewhat different and probably varies over time (it certainly varies from point to point, if only because of the motion of the plasma).
Urhixidur 17:36, 2005 Jan 4 (UTC)

Solar fusion

We've been trying to work out solar fusion numbers over at Nuclear fusion and Talk:Nuclear fusion - see the "Check these numbers?" section. I'm hoping that some of you folks know more about the solar fusion process than what we were able to piece together and can double-check what we (I) came up with. Thanks. SMesser 21:26, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Better picture?

All we have here are two SOHO pictures using the same special color filter. Can we not use a "normal light" picture on the top, possibly with a couple of sun spots? Awolf002 15:51, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The problem is, our main source of PD solar system images is NASA/JPL, and they don't seem to have any boring yellow-light images of the Sun. -- Curps 20:03, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)
OK, I found one. -- Curps 20:27, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Great! I was combing through NASA images, too. You were more sucessful than me. Thanks! Awolf002 03:16, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)


I'd like to see the symbol for the Sun in the article. --FlockofPidgeons 24:06, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

German article of the Sun

The german article of the Sun is superb. I dont know if any of you guys knows German well enough to reuse some of the material but some of the stuff they talk in detail there is not ever mentioned in this article. Regards! --Smartech 20:44, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I put it into Babelfish, played around with it a little, then put it on a page Sonne translation. Its not a good translation, but its readable. We can edit it, etc. and get an idea of what it is saying. Paul Reiser 00:54, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I've moved this to a subpage of this talk page, Talk:Sun/German translation - it wasn't appropriate for it to be in the main namespace. --TempLogInforPageMove 16:28, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Just skimming over the babelfish translation, the main topics that the German article has that we don't are these, hopefully this list will provide some doable goals to work towards.
  1. More about the magnetic field
  2. Physical occilations
  3. History of the study of the sun
  4. visible features?
  5. history of culture related to the sun
  6. the development of the sun
  7. lots of references
Rmrfstar 04:02, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Matter - Energy Conversion

4.26 million tonnes per second??? Drop the million and you have the correct figure. This can be checked by the famous E = Mc^2

Indeed it can be checked, and if you do that carefully you'll find it really is 4.26 million tonnes per second, giving the solar luminosity of 3.8×1026W. Worldtraveller 02:56, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

The Sun and eye damage

I removed the recently-contributed RED BOX!!!!! on eye damage and added a brief section on it, since this is such a persistent meme. Solar eye damage is a much-overblown hazard: it rarely (if ever) happens to the unaided eye, and there are reports of people staring at the Sun for literally hours with no lasting ill effects. Of course, it is possible to go blind by looking at the Sun through binoculars, but it's also possible to go blind by ramming a fork into the eyes, and there's no BIG RED BOX!!!!! on that page. Sorry for the sarcasm -- I just deal with this sort of thing a lot in Real Life, being a solar physicist. zowie 21:48, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing out the oversight! I'll go add a BIG RED BOX!!! to the fork article right now, no need to trouble yourself. :) Bryan 02:10, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
Due to the complication of driving a ton of metal, I took care of "Fork in the road".
(SEWilco 02:54, 7 May 2005 (UTC))
Can anyone add information on the effects of viewing the sun at sunset or sunrise? I remember once watching an annular eclipse at sunrise and wondering if I should be staring at it or not. I guess I ended up doing that despite the various "IF YOU LOOK AT THE SUN AT ALL YOU WILL GO BLIND AND ALSO PERHAPS DIE" warnings.
Your wish is my command - sorry I didn't notice this earlier.zowie 5 July 2005 15:21 (UTC)

Ok, sorry, but under the section title Sun and eye damage there is a chick sun bathing. What's up with that? What has that got anything to do with eye damage? Irrelevant? --None-of-the-Above 17:27, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

She's not so relevant; I wouldn't be sad to see her go... zowie 01:14, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Maybe something along the lines of sunglasses or a picture of the Retina (with damage if possible). --None-of-the-Above 16:02, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

However, it is still very dangerous to view the Sun with binoculars at such times, as ultraviolet light is much less affected by haze and dust, and so its capacity to damage the retina is not reduced

I'm not sure but shouldn't it read `infrared'? Blue light (and ultraviolet) is easier to be scattered. That's why setting sun is red and sky is blue. Anyway isn't it that the setting (or rising) sun is just still quite bright and with optical enhancing can be dangerous regardless of the wavelength? Poszwa 03:15, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I think it should be cut out altogether. It's simply not true, as you point out. (Besides, if UV were the only problem, using binoculars would be OK, since glass blocks a lot of the UV). zowie 07:21, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
I went ahead and cut it out. I think that the (valid) concern got put in there because improper filtration of midday sun is indeed a potential UV and/or IR hazard, so I put a note to that effect in the binoculars paragraph. zowie 20:07, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Bold passages in Sun and Eye Damage

I put the bold sentences in there to highlight the key information in each paragraph. If they offend anyone, please feel free to remove the boldness -- but please also edit the text to highlight those sentences in some other way. The point is to draw the eye to the main point of the paragraph, without resorting to a BIG RED BOX!!! (see above).zowie 20:07, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Sun and eye damage

Could someone put in an exact quote from that cited article about chlororetinal temperature. I'd always heard that old-time marine navigators lost their eyesight all the time, because of old navigation techniques that involved looking at the sun with one eye. That's why you'd see so many sea-captains and pirates wearing eyepatches. Phr 14:42, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I heard that old saw too, which is why I looked up the references. I don't have White's paper handy any more (would have to go back to the library to get it) but it's easy enough to calculate the power deposited. The contracted pupil is 2-5 square millimeters, at about 1 milliwatt per square millimeter, so 2-5 milliwatts are deposited into the eye. There are reported cases of people staring at the Sun for hours with no lasting loss of vision or acuity. White doesn't discuss acute UV effects (sunburn) but I suppose a young person staring at the tropical sun for hours could damage the retina that way. Older folks have yellower lenses and corneae, so that UV flux is greatly reduced.
While I can't speak to the problems of sextant observation, I know that there were a lot of eye hazards on the high seas that did not involve looking directly at the Sun. I have also seen several sextants and quadrants from the 18th and 19th centuries -- all of them had a small piece of glass that could be "smoked" (held over a candle to be darkened by soot), completely eliminating any concern about direct, prompt eye damage.
Richard Feynman in "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" mentions that he watched the first A-bomb test through the windshield of a truck, since he said bright visible light didn't injure eyesight but UV could. I'd expect the retina might well get sunburn much faster than skin does (the retina contains no melanin, etc.) and some people get skin sunburns in just a few minutes of exposure. So UV burning is maybe a bigger hazard than heating. Feynman's viewing through the truck window doesn't sound too smart either, if the A-bomb was really "brighter than a thousand suns". Phr 03:06, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

See Also

There is a big list at the bottom of the article, "See Also". Isn't this what categories are for? Should there be a Sun category? Ebeisher 16:37, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Biased Article

Are we supposed to put new posts at the top or bottom? Sorry if I'm doing something wrong, this is my first ever post on a talk page. Anyway. I feel that this article is biased. It comes across as saying that the Nuclear Fusion Theory of the Sun is fact. It isn't fact, it's just the most commonly accepted mainstream Theory. It totally neglects to say any of this, much less mention that the info is based on a theory, it just goes on like it is fact (something that I have seen in other encyclopedia's, website articles, spoken word etc). There is no mention of the Electric Star, (The Electric Universe Theory), which is quickly becoming another popular theory, and one that makes more sense IMHO. FistOfFury 30 June 2005 23:56 (UTC)

So if Electric Star makes more sense, you've done the math and found that the proposed energies can affect 99% of a solar system's mass in the methods claimed? I don't know what specifically you're referring to; I've heard of several concepts, and the one I just found in Google was at a minimum ignoring magnetohydrodynamics, as well as referring to a lack of neutrinos which is now known to be due to detectors having been sensitive to only some types of neutrinos. There also was mention of little variability in the visible spectrum, ignoring that much of solar variability is hidden because our atmosphere absorbs energetic light; our eyes adapted to use the type of light which reaches the surface so it is hardly surprising that "visible light" has certain characteristics. (SEWilco 1 July 2005 02:39 (UTC))
Which webpage from Google are you referring to? FistOfFury 1 July 2005 05:56 (UTC)
Doesn't matter, if your sources do not have such omissions. (SEWilco 1 July 2005 06:53 (UTC))
Nuclear fusion is the only currently accepted physical theory that explains the solar neutrinos, the long duration of the solar luminosity, and the difference between the principal solar abundances and the universal abundances of light elements. Nuclear fusion has the additional advantage that it rests on physics that is verified daily by undergraduate students in classroom laboratories around the globe. The electric universe theory, to my knowledge, currently falls short both in the prediction-of-solar-behavior and in the verification-in-the-lab categories. If/when the electric universe theory is proven (a) correct and (b) more useful than the standard theory of nuclear fusion, then we can consider including it in encyclopediae. But for now it should really be considered original research and hence not part of Wikipedia's scope. zowie 1 July 2005 04:47 (UTC)
Yes, and all of that addresses the obvious slant of the article how? Really, I do not wish to turn this into a fusion vs electric universe topic, this isn't the place. I'm sure that if I really wanted to, I could spend some time and find holes in the fusion theory if I really wanted, like you guys are trying to do with the electric theory. There's holes in both, that is why they are theories. I'm not an expert on everything, as I'm still reading up on both theories, and to me, I feel that the electric universe is pointing in the right direction. But the point of why I started this thread is, there is no mention in the Sun article that all the info is based on a theory (I don't care if there's been tests done, it's still a theory). The only time I saw the word theory was in the section called the nuetrino problem, and it was talking about something else. As long as the theory has become mainstream then it's okay to write the article as fact and ignore that it's a theory, is this the normal way of doing things on Wikipedia? Just wondering, as I am new here. FistOfFury 1 July 2005 06:21 (UTC)
If its the well supported dominant scientific theory, then the answer is yes; and hence the article is not biased. Here's a link (Plasma_cosmology#The_Electric_Universe) you can use for a one/few sentence caveat if you guys agree on the content; but for the record if there was something fundamentally wrong with fusion theory they would have come across it in the fusion test reactor. - RoyBoy 800 1 July 2005 06:36 (UTC)
"It's only a theory": One wonders what convincing proof can be produced when a cup of fusing solar hydrogen is not a practical goal. Fusion by the megaton doesn't prove that is what happens in the Sun. But then, "lightning" doesn't well describe what is visible on the Sun. (SEWilco 1 July 2005 06:53 (UTC))
"As long as the theory has become mainstream then it's okay to write the article as fact and ignore that it's a theory, is this the normal way of doing things on Wikipedia?" Yes, for many things. We don't mention in Automobile or Horse that they are physical representations of clouds of quantum probabilities, or entangled strings. See Wikipedia:Contributing FAQ and Wikipedia:Neutral point of view. (SEWilco 1 July 2005 07:02 (UTC))
RoyBoy's got it right as far as the Wiki guidelines. The "electric universe theory" may or may not prove to be a correct description of the world (and many of us have opinions one way or the other), but the overwhelming body of academic work points to a general acceptence of conventional physical theory. The job of an encyclopedia is not to present all theories about each subject, it is to present the best representation of accepted fact. A good place to write about the "electric universe theory" would be in its own article, describing it as an alternative theory of the cosmos. It could be listed in the List of alternative, speculative and disputed theories, which appears to be on course to survive the latest attack. zowie 1 July 2005 17:58 (UTC)

On a side note from the Electric Sun theory (I think), can we have a section that mentions the claims by Dr Manuel Oliver that the Sun is in fact made mostly of Iron, not Hydrogen? I came across this today and it makes sense to me, as well as appearing to have appeared in a fair number of peer reviewed mainstream journals. It is certainly NOT accepted with entirely open arms, but I would think it useful to list it under the Problems section. Some links:


My first impression is, it shows all the signs of fringe science. You know, revolutionary new theory, established science has it all wrong, oppressed, lonely fighter for the truth. The review system is censored, you publish anyway, it's not the fault of the theory that it isn't accepted by peers, putting things on a website will sure fix that, if not, put up another one, etc. There are other things that should go first in an encyclopedia. Femto 13:31, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for asking. The answer is, No, we absolutely cannot. Oliver's claims are complete crap. In particular, he claims that the Sun has a solid interface layer somewhere just under the surface. That has been disproven by the helioseismology data from GONG and MDI. It has definitely not appeared in a fair number of peer reviewed mainstream journals devoted to solar physics and astrophysics -- in fact he appears to have had some difficulty getting them published (as evidenced by the "CENSORED" stamp he posts on the front page of (But then, I got my PhD in solar astrophysics from Stanford, and spent four years working on the SOHO/MDI project, so I'm clearly part of the establishment on this one). zowie 21:59, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

History and Future

Heavy elements such as uranium can be produced by a supernova (nearly everyone's favorite theory and the reason most interested scientists believe that the Sun is a second-generation star); but they can also be produced by neutron absorption inside a massive star. That second process should be mentioned for completeness although it also supports the idea that the Sun is second-generation (which is why I just edited it back in :-). zowie 5 July 2005 15:20 (UTC)

Rv('s) of anon

Taking a cursory look at this; it would appear to me that a newcomer was biten and Wikipolicy could have been explained along with a short answer to the question(s) on this page and 84's talk page, regardless of wether they were in good faith. Furthermore, isn't the Wikipedia:Reference_desk a viable option? Unless I'm missing some backstory here. - RoyBoy 800 01:04, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

Hmmm. Maybe I acted in haste -- but there *is* a section on this Talk page that discusses the very question that was asked, and a section in the main article answering it. I saw the L337-5p34k and figured it was a troll. So, uh, what now? zowie 04:04, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

While the article addresses the future outlook for the Sun I think the anon's questions were of broader issues that came to mind as a result of reading it. I would suggest an apology and help with further questions; and a reminder profanity is frowned upon; even in edit summaries. - RoyBoy 800 08:05, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
I would also recommend creating a user page to help with what I hope will be continued editing on your part zowie; and it will give vandals something to sink their teeth into. :"D RoyBoy 800 08:13, 11 July 2005 (UTC)


I would like to change the intro to this article. The current first two sentences:

A sun is the star at the center of a planetary system. Our sun is usually referred to as the Sun, and is occasionally referred to as Sol to distinguish it from other "suns"

are misleading, I think, and would be much better if changed to the following:

The Sun is the star at the center of our solar system. Our sun is occasionally referred to as Sol to distinguish it from other "suns".

Use of 'sun' as a synonym for 'star' is generally figurative and in common and astronomical usage, the word 'sun' implicitly means 'the' Sun, hence my change to the first sentence. Given that change, the second sentence can be shortened, and I don't see the point of linking to Sol seeing as it's a disambiguation page which will lead the reader back to this article.

Seeing as there are currently a few disagreements between me and others about the use of Sun/Sol (see Talk:Solar system and Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Log/2005 July 16) I thought I would make my suggestion on the talk page first. Worldtraveller 16:36, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Sounds good to me. Awolf002 23:07, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Good phrasing, particularly removal of spoken emphasis phrase "the Sun". (SEWilco 23:11, 19 July 2005 (UTC))
The introductory statement seems fine, except that its conception of the sun is only a few centuries old. Therefore I propose to put before it a more naive definition of the sun. Somebody may disagree with this positioning; but the naive account of the sun should appear somewhere in the article, I think. (I don't know that it is correct to trace to Copernicus the conception of the Sun as one star among many; perhaps somebody can clarify.) David Pierce 08:27, 22 August 2005 (UTC)
The naive definition that I introduced has now been removed by somebody else, so that the intro will be more "science-based". I propose that the definition of the sun as "the star at the centre of our solar system" is more precisely described as based on a scientific theory (in the proper sense of model, not unproved claim). It seems better to me—more illustrative of the progress of science—to first state what a theory is about, and then to state what the theory is. So I shall again add to the beginning of the Sun article a description of the sun that would make sense to anybody who ever lived. As I said before, this can be moved, but I think it should exist somewhere in the article.
Everybody will have a story of a teacher's ignorance. Mine is this: in the third grade, our teacher taught us that the solar system consists of the sun, planets, moons, and stars. She must have told us that the moons went around the planets, and the planets around the sun, while managing to avoid the question of what the stars did. My point is that I think her heliocentric account of the solar system was not scientific, because she had no conception of it as a theory accounting for observations of the sky; she had just memorized the account as dogma.
Ideally the Sun article will include a history of theories of the Sun's motion, although I am not prepared to write this at the moment. David Pierce 11:12, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
David, I agree that the material you previously added has a place in the article - I apologise for removing it without considering where else it might go. The intro should be a brief overview of the article, and I think your material was not best placed there, but the section on 'Human understanding of the Sun' would be the ideal place. Worldtraveller 11:24, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
I see we were editing at the same time; I have already added the naive material to the beginning. I'm not quite sure of the objection to having it there, but I do not mind its being moved. I still like the idea of starting with a description of the sun that makes sense to everybody who ever lived; but okay, perhaps my description is too long. David Pierce 11:33, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand why we need an introduction that makes sense to everybody who every lived; surely the article wants to be based on our present day understanding of the sun, with discussion later on of how that understanding has come to be? I've just done a general overhaul of the article, in which I've moved your material to the historical understanding section - hope that looks reasonable to you. Worldtraveller 16:06, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
Moving my extended description of the Sun to the later section does make sense. I thought the sentence about the Sun's determining day and night might be left at the beginning of the article. When the article opens by saying that the Sun is the star at the center of our solar system, it seems to be assumed that all readers will immediately recognize from this that the Sun is also the blindingly bright object in the sky that can tan or burn you. I don't think this is a fair assumption, since, as I mentioned above, I know of a schoolteacher who didn't recognize the Sun as a star; hence there may be schoolchildren reading Wikipedia who also have the same confusion. To most people, the Sun is that bright light in the sky; and they are correct. So it seemed to me desirable to say this first, and then say that the Sun is also of a kind with those little points of light that come out in the night sky.
Another thought: Is mercury the element with atomic number 80, or is it the metal that is liquid at room temperature? It is both; but the former characterization is meaningless to most people, and to those for whom it does have meaning, it becomes more meaningful when connected with the latter characterization. The Wiki article starts with both characterizations, appropriately, though I would have put the second one first. David Pierce 08:59, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

G2V classification

Worldtraveller, have you got a source for the G2V classification for the sun asd the specific criteria that make it so? PJO 17:37:34, 2005-08-02 (UTC) I found a citation, and specified in the article what the various parts of "G2V" signify. PJO 17:47:35, 2005-08-02 (UTC)

It's actually not stated that often in the literature, as it's a very well established thing, but for an academic source if you want one see for example this ref [1]. V denotes main sequence stars, which the Sun definitely is. Determining whether a star should be classified as V, IV, III, II (giants) or I (supergiants) is done using the widths of spectral lines, which vary according to the gas density and gravity at the surface of a star. Worldtraveller 17:51, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

I already found a source explaining what the "V" meant, that's what I was looking for, and I added it to the article. PJO 18:28:35, 2005-08-02 (UTC)

PJO has been identified as a Plautus satire sockpuppet. You can safely assume all comments made by him are total crackpottery. →Raul654 02:22, August 3, 2005 (UTC)


I removed the reference to this because it doesn't make sense to describe the sun as a 'source' of photosynthesis, which is a chemical reaction. I also changed the description of the sun as essential to all life because it's not completely true - volcanic vents on the ocean floor are one example of a place where life proliferates without aid from the sun. Worldtraveller 16:11, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

This must reflect some different understanding that we have. My understanding is that it makes perfect sense to describe the Sun as the 'source' of photosynthesis. Could you explain more why being a chemical reaction means the Sun is not the source of it? It's a scientific phenomenon that needs to be linked from this page in the interest of knowledge, which is not what we're supposed to suppress. And as for the volcanic vents, I also have a different understanding. Perhaps you are suggesting they would still have life in them if the earth were off in deep space and nowhere near a sun... Codex Sinaiticus 16:19, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

It is a source of light and heat (which is a better word than 'warmth' which describes a human sensation rather than a physical quantity), but is a cause of photosynthesis. I don't see why photosynthesis needs particular highlighting in the intro, as it's a phenomenon related to plants, rather than the Sun. As for volcanic vents, the Sun does not support the life which exists around them. There is no light and no heat from the Sun at the bottom of the ocean, the heat there comes from the interior of the Earth. Similarly, scientists speculate that there may be life on Europa, beneath a thick ice crust, with the energy source coming from the interior of the Moon. Worldtraveller 16:36, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
Well... for the sake of what "scientists speculate" about Europa, I guess we can have "almost" in there... But photosynthesis is going to have to be linked in there too somewhere, because the Sun is the direct cause of it; thus you cannot really mean it is not "related to" the Sun. Codex Sinaiticus 16:45, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
Scientists speculate about Europa, but life here that doesn't rely on the sun is well known. The sun does not 'cause' photosynthesis any more than chlorophyll causes it. Why are you so keen to mention photosynthesis? There are many other ways in which most life relies upon the Sun and I am not sure why this one process needs to be particularly highlighted. Worldtraveller 17:13, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Well, the other ways are already mentioned: light, and heat. This looks to be the logical place to link it, behind the other two, unless there be a better place or section. You don't think it's significant enough for the lead? Codex Sinaiticus 17:34, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

I originally thought this might help: By providing heat and light, which is needed for the process of photosynthesis, it supports almost all life on Earth However, why is photosynthesis more important than any other process that is sustained by the Sun? So I would say: By providing heat and light it supports almost all life on Earth is the best option. Awolf002 17:45, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

So you don't want to mention it at all. By the way, do all scientists unanimously agree that life could exist without a Sun... or is there some disagreement within the scientific community on this? Codex Sinaiticus 17:53, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

See, the Sun also makes water liquid, which is very important. Mentioning just one piece of "the puzzle" does not fit in such a general introduction. Maybe a section about this would be more appropriate?
I could be sarcastic and say: "Agreement? In Science?? Never!!". However, I think the general notion is that for "life" you need energy and some chemical processes based on matter. No star light is needed, if the energy comes from some other source (radioactivity, tidal motion,...) Awolf002 19:14, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Codex Sinaiticus, please can you explain why you feel that photosynthesis must be mentioned in the lead section? There are many processes which rely on the Sun's light and/or heat; why emphasise this one? Worldtraveller 16:06, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

This time I got rid of the photosynthesis reference. It has no place in the introductory paragraph -- this is an article about the Sun, not about plant metabolism. I'm willing to accept a photosynthesis reference farther down in a section on (say) "sunlight as a source of power" thhat discusses the solar constant and solar power generation -- but it really doesn't belong in the top paragraph. zowie 19:50, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I got off my duff and wrote a draft 1-para section on solar power and photosynthesis. Please feel free to hack at it. It might address Codex Sinaiticus's valid concern that photosynthesis (and other types of energy storage) should at least be mentioned, while also not diverting the focus of the introduction. zowie 20:06, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

atoms in the convection zone

I removed a claim that was at best misleading -- that atoms can exist in the convection zone, but the Sun is composed of plasma everywhere else. While some hydrogen is neutral in the outer part of the convection zone, it is mixed with a much larger percentage of ionized hydrogen -- and the material is best called "plasma" everywhere in the Sun, including the photosphere. (The temperature at the base of the convection zone is about 2,000,000 K; hydrogen becomes fully ionized somewhere around 160,000 K.) zowie 08:09, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Similar image to earth

Can we have an image similar to I know that the size difference and space would be massive, but I'm trying to explain the size differences to my daughter, and she's just not grasping it. I think a similar image would be helpful.

Good suggestion - I've added a size comparison image which I hope is what you were after! Worldtraveller 08:54, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Steller classification

I found it odd that the spectral calss of the sun (ie G2) is not included in the main table at the top right, which has all the orbital, physical etc information. Is there a particular reason for this? It seems as though that table (and indeed the table for all stars) would be the perfect place to have such a basic piece of information.


Photon Emission Time

We seem to be having a difference of opinion regarding how long photons stay inside the Sun. Previously the article stated 1,000,000 years; I claim it is 160,000 - 200,000 years, though someone has reverted this. I can point you towards at least one astronomy professor who can back me up. This, of course, does not automatically trump whatever other source was used to arrive at the 1,000,000 number, but I think we need some discussion to come to a concensus.Spamguy 04:06, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

What we need are sources, not discussion. For what its worth, my recollection is of a photon transit time on the order of a million years. I'll look up what I can shortly.
Urhixidur 06:12, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

I really must object to the heavy treatment that the current article has about "photon travel time". The photons that escape the surface are not related at all to the photons at the center of the Sun. They differ in spectrum and in energy per photon (there are several million visible light photons emitted for every fusion-related gamma ray, and are the result of a very large number of absorption/re-emission operations in the radiative zone. Photon travel time is a sexy popularization but does not capture the actual physics that is happening. It is far, far better to speak of "energy travel time", and even that is misleading. (For example, many people are under the mistaken impression that, if the solar core were to stop fusing, then we would not find out about it for thousands to millions of years, because that is the average energy travel time from the core to the photosphere; but the latter does not imply the former. The sound transit time is a matter of hours, and that is the important time scale for such things.) I do not have time just now to compose a variant that does not mention photon travel time, but expect one in the near future. zowie 18:28, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Regarding "anomalous phenomena" from SOHO

This is trivially debunked. You can find your own sources easily enough with Google, or go straight to Phil Plait's page about it. In summary, they're just CCD glitches which are extremely common, reproduceable, and well understood. Nothing to see here; move along. HorsePunchKid 2005-12-05 05:09:15Z

Tidal forces responsible for geothermal heat

I have to dispute this edit, for now (and will remove it). Can you provide a reference for this, since I am pretty sure it still is radioactivity that provides the largest amount of energy to geothermal heat. Awolf002 18:51, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

I recant and apologize; I figured Earth was in the same vein as Io, etc. Sorry for the pre-research edit. !mAtt 19:33, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

NP, just keep checking yourself :-) Awolf002 22:27, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Earth centric

I do not believe this article follows the NPOV policy of wikipedia I quote: "...the star at the center of our Solar system..." that is a very earth centric view and I believe the 'our' should be taken out. There are outsiders living here too you know. -- 12:18, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, this is only the English language Wikipedia, after all. See which follows a more neutral view. ... What do you mean the page doesn't load? Oops, my bad, it's not yet availabe in this millennium. But it will be created in the future. Trust me, I've been there. Femto 13:07, 15 February 3006 (UTC)
Haha, Femto, that was awesome! Motorneuron 19:01, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Yeah last I checked this system is "our" system in the same way that a job is "your" job, or how its "my family". Yeah sure other people still have the same job, and there are people who share the family with me, but as long as I have part of a stake in it, its "my job, my family, our solar system" etc. As long as we dont indicate exclusive, and even thats up for grabs since this isn't the science fiction database of whoseywhatsits. (watch out for the technical jargon).--Oni Ookami AlfadorTalk|@ 21:38, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Heliospheric current sheet

I eliminated a clause that the "heliospheric current sheet is the largest structure in the solar system". It's not. The heliopause is. It has to be -- it is large enough to contain the heliospheric current sheet. zowie 22:34, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Possible FAC nomination

Does anyone else think this article could be ready for one? Any thoughts on what else it needs, if anything? Worldtraveller 23:36, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm pretty happy with the structure, though I preferred the atmospheric section split out into temperature-minimum, chromosphere and corona rather than grouped into one. Thanks for the general overhaul and nit-picking. zowie 03:51, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

That part is probably my only concern about the article - I merged the three sections because they were all very short, so maybe those bits could be expanded? Worldtraveller 18:23, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it's probably OK the way it is. The article is so long, expanding the stuff out would be more of a problem than a solution -- I think you made the right choice. zowie 06:10, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

All seems like a good idea to me. Looks pretty much ready. If anyone nominates it, please leave a note on my talk page if you want my vote. I'm a lot more likely to check there.--Oni Ookami AlfadorTalk|@ 05:54, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

OK, I'll nominate it and see what happens! Worldtraveller 12:29, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Hurrah, so far a very positive response it would seem. --Oni Ookami AlfadorTalk|@ 22:56, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Missing culture

This article is incomprehensive unless it expands on sun in fiction, religion and culture in general.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:51, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, OK, but it's a little over the top to hold up a cheesy whodunit with a guilty butler, as high culture. zowie 01:56, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

We do have discussion of the Sun in culture and religion. My view is that including more would make the article a bit on the large side but we could perhaps expand on what we have a bit. As for the Sun in fiction, I personally don't find these random lists in some of the planet articles of books/films in which said planet has been mentioned very worthwhile. However, a paragraph about books/films in which the Sun has played some kind of central role would be worthwhile. Only thing is, I don't know any. Anyone else? Worldtraveller 23:41, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm... "Solar Flare" (I forget the author), all of Zane Gray ("...the Sun dipped lower, almost to the lip of the arroyo, and the pony moved restively under Hank..."), all the Terry Pratchett ("the Discworld's small sun continued its hubward course"), "Pebble in the Sky" by isaac asimov, some Niven dealy-bopper (in both of which the Sun becomes a red giant), "Planet of the Apes", "Finnegan's Wake", the White Gold Wielder series by Covenantd, E.E.. "Doc" Smith's books, "metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka (the protagonist hates the Sun), "Solaris" by Stanislaw Lem, the Holy Bible, the epic of Gilgamesh, the Amber series by Roger zelazny... hey, wait a minute... is there any fiction that doesn't mention the Sun? zowie 01:54, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Heck, include most of Star Trek. Nary one sun there that isn't about to go nova, blown up, dived into, flares used as weapon... (though usually not the Sun, that's a little more tricky.)
Some random music titles: Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles / House of The Rising Sun - The Animals / That Lucky Sun Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day - Louis Armstrong / I Live For The Sun - Sunrays / Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying - Gerry and the Pacemakers / Sunny Afternoon - Kinks / Walkin' on the Sun - Smashmouth / Catch the Sun - Doves / Caught in the Sun - Course of Nature / California Sun - Rivieras / Holidays In The Sun - Sex Pistols / East of the Sun - Frank Sinatra / Black Hole Sun - Sound Garden / Seasons In The Sun - Terry Jacks / Staring At The Sun - U2 / Sun Goddess - Earth Wind & Fire / A Place In The Sun - Stevie Wonder / Paper Sun - Traffic
Expand on history, religion, and culture, yes!, preferably summary style with a separate article. Fiction, I don't think any good (read: encyclopedic) can come out of it, and it would quickly degenerate into a "list of" page (not really bad in itself in my opinion, but not as a section in the general main article). Femto 13:08, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Please no. I hate these "X in popular culture" lists; they grow to ridiculous size as every anon that comes along adds their pet thing to it. Redquark 23:20, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
And then once they reach that size they get split off into their own article. Everyone wins. :) Bryan 02:13, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Not quite. I had things like [2] in mind... Redquark 02:37, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
The section was removed by an anon user; I am not the one going to re-include it though. — Start a Sun in art and literature? We do have a quite decent looking Moon in art and literature, for what it's worth. Also Moon (mythology) (redirects to The Moon in mythology). No Sun (mythology) but Sun mythology (redirects to Solar deity). Femto 12:10, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm going to add my voice to the chorus. Mostly I think its repercussions in religious worship should be discussed, but also some uses for Earth life and some cultural perceptions (the sun is often viewed in the West as a bright, happy thing; we describe these people/things as "sunny"). I don't know about art; there's not much space for it, but I keep hearing "Here Comes the Sun" whenever I think about the sun... Brutannica 06:49, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
O.K., its uses are described adequately in the "General information" section, but I think a separate, perhaps expanded section would be better. Brutannica 06:51, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Predicting the solar cycle - Ref please

Please add a reference for this new section. All I saw was a Reuters news item, not any source that would satisfy the reliable sources policy for this type of article. Thanks! Awolf002 22:10, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

oops, thanks for the reminder. zowie 22:43, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

More than 99% of the solar system's mass is contained in the Sun

Quote-"more than 99% of the solar system's mass is contained in it." How can more than 99% of the solar system's mass be contained in the Sun? Wouldn't that have to mean that all of the mass of the solar system is contained in the Sun (which is certainly not true)? 13:39, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

The sun has something like 99.8% of the mass in the solar system, which is a number >99% but less than 100%. You, me, the planets, and everything else in the solar system are just a little bit of fluff around the edges of the sun. Dragons flight 13:49, 8 March 2006 (UTC)


Isnt't the intro a violation of the NPOV policy? "Our solar system" is clearly a reflection of a Terrestrian point of view. Kpalion 18:43, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Let's consider changing it as soon as Sirian or Alpha-Centaurian posts an objection. zowie 18:52, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
XD Saved to go in forum randosig. You just made me laugh. 00:29, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

The Sun?

Now, is our Sun the only Sun? I mean, I hear astronomers say "there may be other planets revolving around other Suns". I mean, is "Sun" a pronoun? Or is "Sun" a word to describe a star around which planets revolve? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by [[User:]|]]] ([[User talk:]|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/]|contribs]]) 01:08, March 20, 2006 (UTC)

"Sun" is normally a proper noun and refers to our Sun alone. When it is used that way it should be capitalized. The word "sun" is also used as a general noun to refer to another star as the center of its own planetary system. This usage is similar to "Moon" (the particular large, rocky body that orbits the Earth) vs. "moon" (any large body that orbits a planet). zowie
How does one "sun" someone? — 0918BRIAN • 2006-03-20 07:14
Just like in NASA's Moon Mars initiative, but facing the other way? zowie 18:47, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

opening image

i'm glad this article has made featured status, it is certainly worthy. however, my only quibble is that i don't understand why the least impressive picture of the sun is the one at the top. surely the image should inspire awe in the reader; the current one is just rubbish. the opening one on the main page is dead good, should we use that instead? i'm new to the whole astrophysics thing, is there some sort of standard in place? mastodon 00:59, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I think the article at the top is there because that's what the Sun actually looks like, in visible light. The other image, which is more visually dramatic, requires the use of spacecraft and multilayer mirrors. Using the ultraviolet image at the top would make the Sun the only solar system body whose WP lede image was actually invisible to humans. zowie 01:12, 20 March 2006 (UTC)


I posted the other day about how I was happy about the West Wing being featured as a fan of the show. But dammit, I'm proud as living being that the Sun is featured. TKE 01:33, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

When is it supposed to expand/explode?

I heard 20 billion years. Sometimes 5. I read it from the featured page and there's no mention of it that I can see in the article (it is really long too). The article needs this. 01:42, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Second para of the article. About 5 billion years. That's because, paradoxically, stars get hotter as they cool off. When the hydrogen is exhausted in the core, the Sun will collapse a bit (heating the core adiabatically) until the core is hot enough to fuse helium. The additional heating will cause the outer layers (still rich in hydrogen, by the way) to expand until it's quite a bit larger than Earth's orbit. So we better get off the planet (or else move it) sometime in the next 4-5 billion years or we're toast. zowie 01:49, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
"The additional heating will cause the outer layers ... to expand until it's quite a bit larger than Earth's orbit. " - are you sure about this? I've always heard that it will expand to engulf mercury and venus, but not earth - but it won't matter much to anything still alive on the surface, because the oceans and atmosphere will be boiled away into space. Raul654 03:56, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure. The exact diameter is kind of model-dependent and I can't claim to know stellar evolution well enough. I remember working out once that the new photosphere would be out almost Mars' orbit at greatest expansion, but that used a lot of simplifying assumptions (it was a homework assignment in grad school) so I wouldn't take it as authoritative :-) zowie 04:03, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
My understanding is the most everyone agrees that the sun will expand beyond the present orbit of the Earth, but whether or not the Earth is actually engulfed depends sensitively on what one assumes for the rate of mass loss during the red giant phase transition. As the sun expands, the amount of gas blown away by the solar wind greatly increases. All told, the sun might dissipate 20-30% of it's mass during the transition. As the sun's gravity decreases, the Earth's orbit would be expected to migrate outward. This makes it possible, though not certain, that the Earth could avoid being consumed as the Sun becomes a Red Giant. Of course you wouldn't want to live there, regardless. Dragons flight 04:37, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Clearly Non-notable

I find it highly unlikely that this "sun" is notable. It doesn't even appear to have its own website, as is a link to a computer hardware company. Furthermore, I believe it may be a hoax, based on the existence of this garage band's myspace account: . I'm unsure whether to simply add a speedy deletion tag, or use the full AfD procedure. Your thoughts? --Xyzzyplugh 01:47, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

  • ... Okay, now that the beer came out my nose... TKE 02:05, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Hehehe, nice to see a sense of humor around Wikipedia once in a while. Alexthe5th 02:30, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

This is going in BJAODN. Great. Daniel Case 05:28, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I already put it there :) Raul654 06:20, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Quoting from the FA:

"Energy from the Sun has supported almost all life on Earth through photosynthesis since the appearance of the first organisms. Humans use sunlight for eyesight, warmth, growing crops, and powering solar cells."

And taking a Q from xyz... , who started this:

Its PoV: Alleges only humans have any use for it.

Is unclear: Which is the *some* (maybe 0.2%) of life it has not supported.

) VivekM 20:18, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
There are a tiny handful of exceptions, such as the bacteria that surround thermal vents at the bottom of the ocean. They are so far down that no light or heat from the sun reaches them. They get their energy in geothermal forms. Raul654 20:21, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Thx. And congratulations. Tho' I'm still a Conn. Yankee! :-) VivekM 20:27, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

"...from geothermal forms...?" And from whence did that originate, h'mmm?....LOL Britmax 12:16, 8 June 2006 (UTC)


Here is what the chart says about the velocity of the sun "217 km/s relative to center of Galaxy, 20 km/s relative to average velocity of other stars in neighborhood". I thought that velocity have to have a direction, so where is the sun going 217km/s? Away from the center of the galaxy? To the center of the galaxy? Where are we going 20 km/s relative to average velocity of other stars in neighborhood? Away from the center of the galaxy? To the center of the galaxy? North 67 degrees west? I think the direction should be indicated not assumed Pseudoanonymous 03:09, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, it is, in the most simple minded approximation, orbiting about the center of the galaxy in roughly a circle. I think perhaps this a case of a scientist saying something and not even realizing that they are assuming readers have some knowledge that they may not possess. In any event, I made an edit that I hope clarifies this point, although I think it still leaves something to be desired. Grokmoo 03:48, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
See solar apex. --arkuat (talk) 09:07, 20 April 2006 (UTC)


There's no mention in this article about the primary contribution of the sun to life on Earth: a source of well-ordered light which allows the Earth to be an "entropy engine," harnessing the light and releasing thermal, mostly infrared radiation. As you can tell me understanding of this subject is vague, but surely it's worth a mention. In ecology textbooks the use of sun in photosynthesis et al. (enthalpy) is mentioned to the exclusion of the sun as a source of ordered, uniform light waves, thus permitting the local anti-entropic development of life in exchange for the highly disordered thermal radiation that organisms emit. Ryanluck 09:03, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

  • When talking about entropy and order, you have to be careful not to tread in unscientific territory in your examples. Textbooks often give incorrect examples in this situation, mixing up our everyday use of the words order/disorder with scientific definitions of these words. What makes the radiation from the Sun more ordered than the radiation from the Earth? — 0918BRIAN • 2006-03-20 13:10
    • It's true that the light from the Sun is in a lower-entropy state than blackbody radiation from living organisms -- that is principally because the Sun lies in a particular direction, so one can drive a heat engine by exposing the hot end to sunlight and the cold end to deep space. But that is a very oblique and strange way to express the effect of sunlight. The article currently discusses sunlight as a source of free energy (colloquially just "energy"), and that is a more direct and relevant way to express it. Surely, the relationship between order, disorder, entropy, temperature and energy is better expressed in conservation of energy, heat engine, or entropy, rather than sun. zowie 18:12, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
      • Alright, thanks for clearing that up. Thermo was not one of my favorite courses :) — 0918BRIAN • 2006-03-20 19:19


I semiprotected this article after a user request and in light of the fact that there has been a rash of recent anon vandalism. Let me know if and when you'd like it removed.Gator (talk) 15:39, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I have removed the protection. It is being vandalized because it is the featured article on the front page, but traditional dictates that we do not protect frontpage articles except under extraordinary circumstances and for very brief periods. Dragons flight 16:55, 20 March 2006 (UTC)


I have tried to address some of the kneejerk Earth-centrism in this article, but it's an uphill battle. When will the Earthling provincialism end? At the very least, no more "our"s in the article, "our solar system", "our galaxy", et cetera. For shame. Babajobu 18:01, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Show me the "other" owners of this solar system and we can change it. Awolf002 18:04, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Reminds me of the habit in Chinese Wikipedia of referring to China as "our country" and Hong Kong as "this port". Both of those terms are now verboten in Chinese Wikipedia. Babajobu 18:06, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Oh please. Must you continue over-representing Andromedans, BEMs, and SFCFACs? It would be different if they were actually posting complaints, but they're not. Ha-ha, just serious. zowie 18:06, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm not arguing for some PC over-representation of Andromedans, SFCFACs, et cetera, but Earthlings should show a little more humility. The solar system doesn't revolve around the Earth, and neither does the universe! Babajobu 18:11, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, no, the known universe (which WP is attempting to describe) does indeed revolve around humanity, simply because human knowledge is concentrated around the subjects that humans can explore. One can't fight that bias (there are no verifiable sources on the life-cycle of phototrophic life in brown dwarf systems, for example), so one may as well embrace it. "Our solar system" is NPOV to the extent that it does not take the POV of any one piece of humanity -- the solar system is indeed the place associated with all humanity, the target audience of WP. Speaking of "the solar system" or "the Milky Way galaxy" merely pushes the POV out of this page and into the definition of those objects. zowie 18:17, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
"our solar system" is actually a poor choice of words, as there is only one Solar system -- that's the system of planets revolving around Sol (which is our star); other stars with planetary systems are technically, generically "star systems." Calling an extrasolar planetary system a "Solar system" is like a Yankee calling "London, England" as "Washington, DC." —Preceding unsigned comment added by IP (talkcontribs)
I'm mostly joking about the Earth-centrism, but the use of "our" really does strike me as a bit weird in an encyclopedia, perhaps just as part of an ingrained aversion to first-person pronouns in this sort of literature. Specifying the galaxy or rewriting as "the solar system" are better if only in that they won't distract people like me as "our" does. Babajobu 18:38, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
I suppose. The other side of the coin is that removing all expressive phrases yields dry, boring prose -- but I agree that some balance is needed. zowie 18:46, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

No mention of cultural or symbolic significance

There should probably at least be links to Solar deity, Solar symbol, etc... AnonMoos 20:08, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Did you happen to read the article? Solar deity is already linked. — 0918BRIAN • 2006-03-20 20:34

Article Discrepency in Polar Rotation.

Near the top of the page, it says 36 days, but futher down says 35 days for a polar rotation. I figure it's somewhere inbetween but it should be the same throughout the article. 20:50, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps this webpage (provides its own references nicely enough, may aid in adressing the issue. [3] If I am correct it has something to do with relative drag effects, incidental of the fluid nature of solar plasma. Consider it simmilar to reasoning for ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream.--Oni Ookami AlfadorTalk|@ 03:08, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


Is it Scientifically correct to say that the sun will 'evolve'? --Science Lord 20:52, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes. Remember, differentiation of species by natural selection is one very specific meaning of evolution. The more general meaning is change over time, with a connotation of gradual change. zowie 21:05, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

  • There is biological evolution, and there is non-biological evolution. The Sun fits into the latter category. — 0918BRIAN • 2006-03-20 21:18


If the sun is a 'yellow star' and lovely large detailed pictures seem to support it, how is it that sunlight is full spectrum? If the sun LOOKS yellow, meaning yellow light is what meets the eye/camera, then logically you conclude the sun doesn't give off any light of a non-yellow frequency, yet we know it does, because when you split sunlight in a prism, there's all the other colors. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 23:22, March 20, 2006 (UTC)

  • It's possible for the amount of radiation of a specific frequency (color) to vary. And this is the case with the Sun. See this diagram. The Sun is more yellowish white than pure yellow. — 0918BRIAN • 2006-03-20 22:29
Yah, Brian00918's got it exactly right -- the yellow portion of the spectrum is brighter than the red or the blue portion. A complete solar spectrum is represented in the picture by the "Neutrino problem" heading -- you can see that nearly all colors of the rainbow are present in sunlight (those little dark smudges are "missing" colors that are being absorbed by specific elements in the solar atmosphere). Remember that your eyes are not spectrographs: color vision gets you only a very rough approximation of the spectrum, which is why RGB or CMYK color schemes work.

zowie 22:38, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Why compare the Sun's circumference to the Earth's diameter?

I wasn't expecting my earlier minor edit to be controversial. I don't understand what purpose is served by comparision of the Sun's circumference to the Earth's diameter. I would find it far more intuitive to do an 'apples to apples' comparison, and to say that the Sun's circumference is 109 times that of the Earth... and its diameter is 109 times that of the Earth. It seems that this is a pointless multiplication by π, given that they're both spheres to within the three significant figures shown here. Removal of the 'earths' comparison of the circumference entirely on the grounds that it is redundant would also make sense to me. --Noren 01:01, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Hi, Noren, sorry -- didn't think it was particularly controversial either -- just noticed the ratio of pi in the original figure. I think that whoever assembled the table (I've a terrible head for names) put it in to provide a better sense of scale. If you prefer to switch ('109 Earth diameters' and '109 Earth circumferences') I don't have a problem with that. Cheers, zowie 06:24, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

What generation is the Sun?

I made an edit earlier stating that the sun was of at least the third generation, which has since been (partially) reverted. My understanding is that the earliest stars are believed to have formed from matter containing nearly no elements heavier than lithium, and thus the CNO cycle could not occur until after the core was hot enough to perform a triple-alpha process. (A recent web site on Population III stars is here.) I have read that these Population III stars did not, therefore, produce significant amounts of elements heavier than Zinc. These earliest stars would create metal poor Population II stars, which in turn formed the very heavy elements in our solar system. I am not an astronomer, but those appear to be legitimate sources in my estimation; I would like to see some references demonstrating that the Sun is of only the second generation. Failing that, I think the page should be changed back. It's also possible that the page should instead be changed to reflect a lack of consensus in the astronomy community if that is the case currently. --Noren 01:09, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree. The sun is a population I = third generation star. NASA says so as well [4]. Dragons flight 01:25, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Astronomical Catalogues

Is the Sun ever listed in astronomical catalogues? Ardric47 04:59, 24 March 2006 (UTC)