Talk:Sun characteristics

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Mean distance from Earth[edit]

Corrected the value for "Mean distance from Earth" in kilometres (was: 1149 million km). 11:28, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Bold the fact titles?[edit]

Should the fact titles be bolded so they stand out? If bolded, the template will appear like this:

The Sun Sun symbol.svg
The Sun
Observation data
Mean distance from Earth 149.6×106 km (92.95×106 mi)
(8.31 minutes at the speed of light)
Visual brightness (V) −26.8m
Absolute magnitude 4.8m
Spectral classification G2V
Orbital characteristics
Mean distance from Milky Way core ~2.5×1017 km
(26,000-28,000 light-years)
Galactic period 2.25-2.50×108 a
Velocity 217 km/s orbit around the center of the Galaxy, 20 km/s relative to average velocity of other stars in stellar neighbourhood
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter 1.392×106 km (109 Earths)
Circumference 4.373×106 km
Oblateness 9×10−6
Surface area 6.09×1018  (11,900 Earths)
Volume 1.41×1027  (1,300,000 Earths)
Mass 1.988 435×1030 kg (332,946 Earths)
Density 1,408 kg/m³
Surface gravity 273.95 m s-2 (27.9 g)
Escape velocity
from the surface
617.54 km/s (55 Earths)
Surface temperature 5785 K
Temperature of corona MK
Core temperature ~13.6 MK
Luminosity (Lsol) 3.827×1026 W
~3.75×1028 lm
(~98 lm/W efficacy)
Mean Intensity (Isol) 2.009×107 W m-2 sr-1
Rotation characteristics
Obliquity 7.25° (to the ecliptic)
67.23° (to the galactic plane)
Right ascension of North pole[1] 286.13°
(19 h 4 min 30 s)
Declination of North pole +63.87°
(63°52' North)
Rotation period at equator 25.38 days
(25 d 9 h 7 min 13 s)[1]
Rotation velocity at equator 7174 km/h
Photospheric composition (by mass)
Hydrogen 73.46 %
Helium 24.85 %
Oxygen 0.77 %
Carbon 0.29 %
Iron 0.16 %
Sulphur 0.12 %
Neon 0.12 %
Nitrogen 0.09 %
Silicon 0.07 %
Magnesium' 0.05 %

>Kamope< Talk · Contribs 11:21, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

What about changing the design so that it parallels the redesigned "Planets" template? That one seems to have the bold text you're suggesting, but with an smaller text size. --Ckatzchatspy 18:23, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


I've made a few tweaks to the layout and formatting to improve the readability. Thoughts? --Ckatzchatspy 17:56, 17 May 2007 (UTC)


Are the ~ symbols supposed to be approximation signs (≈), or am I just being ignorant? A ~ (in place of an ≈) should only be used on a typewriter, where no approximation sign is available.

The Man in Question 00:36, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

The tilde is being used properly here. In science and mathematics it is used as an approximation sign, while is used to express approximately equal to.

leigel3 14:57, 19 November 2008


Almost all the data on here is uncited. I've not been able to confirm any of it, and I corrected the mass a few days ago; however, it would seem the luminosity also differs from both my (various) astronomy texts and from the NASA Planetary Fact Sheet. Can someone please provide the citations? Otherwise, when I am free next, I will change these to NASA factsheet values with citations. Tigerhawkvok 22:12, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Units and some recent edits[edit]


I noticed some recent edits (myself included) and I think we may need to discuss.

This article is very much a scientific article and hence SI units should only be used. I recently removed all imperial units from this infobox as they were very much useless. Why would anyone want to know the density in lb/cubic ft or the Sun's motion around our galaxy in ft/sec?

Also, whilst converting to Celsius is normally a good idea, it is a waste of time for large numbers. 15 million Kelvin is 15 million Celsius (minus 273 degrees) and at these levels there is no point.

I would like to see all infoboxes of the planets and dwarf planets looking consistent. I'd like to include the Sun in this. I'm working on Mars as a template and I'd values others' input and consensus.

So I propose:

No imperial units. Provide conversion to Celsius at reasonable levels (surface of the Sun at 5000 K may be appropriate - but not to two decimal places) Style and format similar to Mars. Let me know what you think. Jim77742 08:54, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

I think that these are great ideas, and I'm in total agreement! Popkultur 15:39, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Looks like very good guidelines to me also. That Kelvin to Celsius conversion for millions of degrees was ridiculous. One minor point regarding formatting: I recall that a month ago a few people were attached to the idea of having a space every three digits after the decimal point in the infoboxes (Jupiter was, I think, the article), but I've been unable to track down the discussion. Anyway, either way is fine with me as long as its kept consistent among all the planets (+Sun, etc, you know). Deuar 20:31, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
One suggestion, looking at Mars - I think we should stick with SI units exclusively, except where SI-derived units make more sense. Velocity in km/h is okay, but density should be in kg/m^3, not g/cm^3. I think conversions for AU should only be used to describe orbital distance, for comparison purposes. Popkultur 20:38, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Sounds fine but AU should be there for all interplanetary distances, it's what is usually used by astronomers for describing them (not km) Deuar 06:54, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

If we are using SI units why bother converting to Celsius anyways? K is the SI unit for temperature and is almost universally the temperature scale quoted by professionals in the field. (talk) 09:00, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Picture of the Sun[edit]

The picture of the Sun was recently replaced. The summary said it was a "better" picture. Personally I do not think so. The first is one by NASA and the second is one by presumably an amateur astronomer. I myself have taken a nice picture of the sun I could upload. I feel like reverting to what I consider the superior NASA picture, but I'd value others' input. What's the consensus here? Jim77742 05:22, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

I Agree the filter being used in the "better" picture makes the sun look like an orange, or Alpha Centauri B :-) ▪◦▪≡ЅiREX≡Talk 05:37, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Angular size?[edit]

I went to the sun wikipedia entry to look up it's angular size, but it was not listed. So I found the information I needed at NASA: 31.6' - 32.7' [1] (although I think the source is mixing up the sizes at perihelion vs. aphelion). I presume some thought went into this infobox, so I am hesitant to start adding things myself. Can someone add this in to the box in an appropriate place? Thanks. — Eoghanacht talk 13:18, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

I went ahead and did it myself. — Eoghanacht talk 12:43, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
 :-) Deuar 14:06, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Matter to energy conversion rate[edit]

Is the 4e6MT/s figure the correct number and cited and does it represent an energy equivalent as represented by mass for generated energy or is this figure the amount of mass converted into mostly other matter and a small percentage of energy?--Theo Pardilla 14:15, 15 March 2008 (UTC)


Photospheric composition percentages add up to 99.98%. (talk) 15:05, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Mean Diameter, Equatorial Radius, Circumference[edit]

All three of these values listed on the Sun wiki page feature the text (109x Earth). The equatorial radius given is, in fact, approximately 110x Earth, and since the others are only off by a multiplicative factor, repeating (109x Earth) seems unnecessary. Of course, I feel listing all three measures is itself a bit redundant. We could reduce some clutter by allowing wiki users to multiply by 2 themselves.

I just noticed this discussion page actually has all these suggestions taken into account. I'm new to Wikipedia, so I apologize if I'm beating a dead horse on this one. Jake0Miller (talk) 01:05, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from, 18 October 2010[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}} In this article it states the Sun's "velocity" relative to a number of things. In each case it states the magnitude of the measurement, but fails to mention the relative direction. Velocity, defined by Wikipedia states that "both magnitude and direction are required to define it", which this article is lacking in every instance. Now, considering the nature of the measurement it is understandable that there is no direction given, which leads me to believe that the term "velocity" is being mistaken for "speed", which is the form that the measurement is given in. This may mislead readers to believe that it is correct to use "speed" and "velocity" interchangeably, which is not true. That is why every place that "velocity" is mentioned and lacks to define the direction, it should then be replaced with "speed". Thank you for considering my edit and I hope changes can be made promptly accurately. [2] (talk) 23:32, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

I believe the velocities in this template do have direction. For example, "217 km/s orbit around the center of the Galaxy" (the direction is italicized). --Stickee (talk) 07:56, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Not done. I agree with Stickee. The direction is stated as around the center of the Galaxy. -Atmoz (talk) 16:23, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from, 9 March 2011[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}} In looking at the numbers at the bottom of the table for mass composition, the value for Sulfur is misquoted as .12% when it appears in the cited article as .04% (talk) 08:52, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Done Thank you for finding that! Reaper Eternal (talk) 14:26, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Replaced the false color image of sun.[edit]

I replaced the false color, extreme ultraviolet image of the sun with an image of the sun as it actually looks. This info box image is effectively the lede image of the article. Unfortunately about 8 thousand people a day look at the sun article and without a doubt I'm sure the vast majority of them were thinking that that other image was what the sun actually looks like in the sky when using a telescope. Obviously that’s not acceptable. Even if a caption could be included to clarify the situation, an image of the sun, as it actually looks like in the sky with a telescope is what should be the lede.
Dave3457 (talk) 00:41, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

So we have to change this to this on Moon just because it is how we see it and not because how it really is? ۞ Tbhotch & (ↄ), Problems with my English? 00:54, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
One thing that counts against the change is that the proposed replacement is a much lower quality image, only 640 × 480 pixels -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:14, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Tbhotch, your English is fine, but your example is not a fair comparison. Below and to the right are the two images in discussion.

This is a false color image of the sun and is not how the sun looks in a telescope. The wavelength of light used is a single extreme ultraviolet wavelength.
This is how the sun actually looks in a telescope.

The left image is a false color extreme ultraviolet image of the sun and is not how the sun looks in the sky with a telescope, it could just as easily be blue like this below one.

BLUE STEREO 3D Time for Space Wiggle.gif

The only real difference between the blue and orange ultraviolet images is that two different false colors were chosen. That the creator of the orange ultraviolet image choose orange is in fact very misleading. Unfortunately people are thinking that the orange ultraviolet image is what the sun would actually look like if they were to look at it with a telescope.
The left image is what the sun actually looks like with a telescope. (Note: The resolution of this true image is not an issue because we are only displaying it at the low resolution of 290px when the actual resolution of the image is the higher 640px.)

The next two images are the two images that you suggested is an equivalent comparison.

This is how the moon looks without a telescope
This is how the moon looks in a telescope.

both are true images of the moon but the telescope image is the appropriate one because it is a better picture of the moon. That picture is what the moon actually looks like. This false color infrared image of the moon would not be appropriate in the lede of the moon article because it is not what the moon looks like in a telescope.

Right now, about 8 thousand people a day are being led to think that the present picture in the lede of the sun article is what the sun looks like in a telescope. I don't think we are doing these people a service by unintentionally misleading them.
Dave3457 (talk) 03:48, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

I can think of several objections to the proposed change...
  • The suggested replacement is not of sufficient image quality - the resolution is important, because we are not only showing it at 290px, we are also showing it full size when the reader chooses to click it
  • There's nothing that says a lede image has to be a representation of what an object looks like through an optical telescope, and this template makes no suggestion that it does so
  • Most astronomical images are shown using false colors
  • How do you know what people are thinking anyway?
-- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 04:43, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Your first point was: “The suggested replacement is not of sufficient image quality….”
The proposed Nasa image has the dimensions of 640x480, the ultraviolet image dimensions are 628x599. The actual ratio of their diameters when displayed on the computer screen at full resolution is 86%. I don’t see how that difference can be viewed as significant enough to ignore the issue faced here.
First part of your second point: “There's nothing that says a lede image has to be a representation of what an object looks like through an optical telescope….”
I’m not arguing MOS here, I’m pointing out that most people looking at this image are thinking that that is what the sun looks like.
First part of your second point: “.., and this template makes no suggestion that it does so.”
That doesn’t matter, people are obviously assuming that that image is what the sun looks like.
Your Third point: “Most astronomical images are shown using false colors”
Yes, and far too often they don’t point that out. Many of the people looking at this page are probably high school students and such. The sun is the most obvious astronomical object in the sky, this page is generally the first page that someone goes to if they are beginning to take an interest in astronomy. We should not be assuming that they know about false color images and such.
Your forth point: “How do you know what people are thinking anyway?”
I am putting myself in the position of the majority of the people who look at this page each day. For the reasons stated above, most of them are definitely not aware that this is an extreme ultraviolet image of the sun.
On the Sun talk page serendipodous said” … neither image is true. Both are taken through filters, because you can't look at the Sun in true light.”
While filtered, the Nasa image was still formed using visible light, the other image was formed using light that is not even in the visible spectrum. I suspect the Nasa image is as close as we are going to get to an actual image of the sun and that is what matters.
Serendipodous, on your talk page you state... "My Wiki philosophy? Well, my main principle is that it is not the job of the reader to interpret what we write; it is our job to put our point across as clearly and simply as possible."
I simply don't see how you can justify misleading all these people.
Dave3457 (talk) 04:03, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Misleading how? Most people are, I assume, fairly familiar with what the Sun looks like. Given that there is literally no way to show the Sun in true colour, I can live with a filtered image. Serendipodous 08:16, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Re: "The proposed Nasa image has the dimensions of 640x480, the ultraviolet image dimensions are 628x599" - I'm not talking about the sizes when displayed at infobox preview resolution - try clicking each image and seeing what it looks like full size. Find a better resolution image and I might change my mind, but I'm not going to support replacing a 4,044 x 3,860 pixel image with a poky little 640 x 480 one -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:16, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

I think any image on Wikipedia should either represent how the object would look like to human eyes, or clearly state how it's being rendered. (talk) 00:10, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Dave3457. The first image should show what the sun really looks like. It is more important that the article is not misleading than that it looks good. Ulflund (talk) 11:50, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Spelt Sul'ph'ur wrong[edit]

Sulphur is spelt Sulphur not Sulfur (talk) 15:46, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Both are acceptable spellings; see sulfur. —KuyaBriBriTalk 14:05, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 15 October 2012[edit]

Hello, I was trying to discover the weight of our sun, and In the quick-check bar thing, I noticed that the mass is incorrect. I took the liberty of going to the cited page, and discovered someone indeed transferred the data wrong. The mass should be "10^24 kilograms, not the nonsensical measurement displayed. I would not want people to think our sun is only 1023 kilograms. Thank you for reviewing this case. (talk) 06:32, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Not done: 1,989,100.0 x 1024 is the same as 1.989100 x 1030 it's just written so that it is a simpler to understand, have a look at what scientific notation is. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 10:56, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

radius and density[edit]

We should probably define these. We break down the density by region, but the average density is not the average of the bits we break it down into. Presumably the average is the density out to the given radius, but the regional densities go beyond that. For the average, we should probably specify 'out to the photosphere' or wherever the cut-off is. — kwami (talk) 22:52, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 13 March 2014[edit]

Okay I think i understand a little better now. Just ignore old post and look at this one. The age of the sun/solar system has been estimated more accurately. The figure 4,567.30 ± 0.16 Ma is the most accurate to this date. Source: (The one I linked before was not the actual paper, use this instead.)

Bastiangronager (talk) 22:37, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Source looks good, would be a more recent primary source replacing an older one. I am hesitant to make any changes myself as I don't know where consensus stands on how detailed this template should go with significant units and such - I see the prior source listed the age as 4.57 +/- 0.11 billion years and the template just lists it as 4.57. If we stick to two significant units, 4.567 just goes to 4.57, so if nobody offers further input in a couple of days, I'll just update the source to the one provided by the edit request. Cannolis (talk) 22:57, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
My opinion is that the value in the prose should be as accurate as possible. The value in any info box shouldn't be any more accurate than ≈4.7 billion years. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 11:58, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Partly done: I've adjusted it based on my response above... It now says ≈4.6 billion years (I made sure the edit was rounded proper, I wasn't awake and hadn't enough coffee before). I've also added that source so that people can look it up themselves. I'm marking this partly done and adjusting the template because now just the prose in the Sun article itself needs updating. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 13:50, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Done --Mdann52talk to me! 13:43, 26 March 2014 (UTC)