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Tag Archives: Sun

Greenhouse Effect [Q&A]

Sahiba, a middle-schooler from New Jersey, asks what is the greenhouse effect and how does it work? We hear a lot about the greenhouse effect nowadays because of the global climate change that is happening, and the tendency is for people to think that this is something new that humans are causing and must be […]

solar differential rotation [try it]

The Sun is giant fluid ball of gas. It is not a solid body, and it does not behave like one. In particular, it rotates at different speeds at different latitudes. The website displays daily collections of solar images ranging from visible light photospheric images to magnetic maps to high-energy X-ray images of the […]

artificial suns [Q&A]

Vibha of Poornaprajna PU College asks, can we make an artificial Sun? There are many ways this question can be interpreted. If the question is whether we can produce energy in the same manner that the Sun does, then yes, that is what a thermonuclear fusion bomb is. There are some differences, of course. The […]

polar lights [Q&A]

Sathwika of SDM PU College asks, what is the mechanism of the formation of aurora? Aurorae, aka polar lights, form when plasma from the solar wind gets funneled into the Earth’s atmosphere around the magnetic poles, and collide with Oxygen and Nitrogen atoms and ions in the upper atmosphere. The collision causes the electrons in […]

a Daedalus for a new age [Q&A]

Vibha of Poornaprajna PU College asks, are there any plans to launch satellites into the Sun? There are currently many space-based telescopes that are dedicated to observing the Sun (RHESSI, TRACE, SoHO, GOES, Hinode, STEREO [which recently managed to get, for the first time ever, simultaneous coverage of the entire surface of the Sun], and […]

sunspot areas [Q&A]

Madhusoodan of Poornaprajna College asks, is there a particular size for a sunspot, and if so how does one find that out? The answer to this can get very complicated very quickly, but the short answer is, no, there is no characteristic size to a sunspot. Sunspots are detected and measured in optical light and […]

the erstwhile solar neutrino problem [Q&A]

Yoshita of Poornaprajna College asks, what is the solar neutrino problem? A byproduct of the nuclear fusion reactions in the core of the Sun are neutrinos. Because neutrinos don’t react with much, they escape from the core as soon as they are formed. The number of neutrinos produced is a very sensitive indicator of the […]

mass lost by the Sun [Q&A]

Tilak of SDM College points out that there is a continuous flow of energy from the Sun, and that needs an expenditure of some mass as a result, and thus the gravitational pull of the Sun should decrease and all the planets should move away from the Sun; is this correct? There is an extremely […]

the hot atmosphere of the Sun [Q&A]

Vigneshwar of Poornaprajna College asks, how is it that the atmosphere of the Sun is hundreds of times hotter than the surface? Doesn’t nuclear fusion happen in the center? Indeed, the corona of the Sun is at many millions of degrees, compared to the surface, which is at 5800 K. This is not due to […]

on the Moon’s orbit [Q&A]

I will write up here brief answers to many astronomy related questions that were asked by students. ┬áThe first one is by Vibha of Poornaprajna College, who asks why is it that the Moon is under the gravitational influence of only the Earth and why is it not affected by the Sun, and why doesn’t […]