THE CENTRAL POWERHOUSE

The Sun, the central powerhouse of our solar system. A medium size, yellow star, composed principally of hydrogen - the lightest chemical element in the universe. Through a process of nuclear fusion - the union of atoms, the Sun forms denser atoms, releasing energy and heat in the process. This energy and heat radiates out, in all directions through the vacuum of space. All the planets in our solar system, intercept a small amount of this energy and heat, as they rotate around their axises and orbit around the Sun. The energy travels at the universal speed limit - known as the speed-of-light (c): which is approximately 3 x108 metres per second. Earth is just under 150 million kilometres from the Sun, and so it takes 8.3 minutes for energy leaving the Sun's surface to reach Earth's atmosphere.

SHORT ARTICLES ON SOLAR ENERGY

To find out more about how energy, light, and heat is generated in the Sun, and what the resulting light, energy, and heat actually is, then dive into the short articles below. The chronological order also has some sense in the order of understanding: starting off with simpler concepts at the beginning (at the bottom of the page), and becoming more complex as time goes on (near the top).

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    Electromagnetic Energy is not only the primary source (or secondary source after gravity…) of energy on Earth, ‘light,’ the smaller fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum, is also an important source of information for many forms of organisms. The different properties of light, such as intensity, duration, polarisation, and spectral composition, can all be used as sources of information. “In all, light sensing is connected to movement in some way so that, once signalled, the creature
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    EM Spectrum The Sun emits electromagnetic radiation in many different wave lengths. The actual EM radiated by the Sun, is known as the solar spectrum, and is made up of some ultraviolet (A, B, and C), but mostly ‘visible light’, and infrared (A, B, and C) - as heat. It extends from around 290 nm to more than 3200 nm. Some stronger rays are emitted by the Sun (such as X-Rays), as mentioned in previous
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    Waves There are two main types of waves, mechanical waves and electromagnetic waves: and these are the main ways that energy moves from point A to point B: in other words, all waves transport energy as they travel. Mechanical waves need a medium for energy to be transferred through - they can not travel through a vacuum. Mechanical waves, include ocean waves, seismic waves, or sound waves for instance - i.e., sound needs water or
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    The energy and heat that reaches the Earth ultimately comes from the Sun, with vastly smaller amounts from other astrophysical sources (i.e., Pulsars and Quasars, and radio waves emanating from Jupiter). The energy and heat released from the Sun comes in the form of electromagnetic (or EM) radiation, propagating outwards in all directions, and from the more sporadic solar winds. An Overview Electromagnetic (EM) energy, is a form of radiation, as it travels out as
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    This section goes into more detail on some of the main zones (differentiated by the main form of energy transfer taking place), between the core and the Sun's outer surface; describing the main reactions, occurring as energy slowly travels outwards, before finally being released into outer-space. The Radiation Zone Within the Radiation Zone, the Positrons quickly encounter high attraction collisions with the many free electrons (it’s antiparticle with a negative charge), annihilating both, and giving off two or more
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    “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.” Carl Sagan During the Big Bang, it is theorised that temperatures were so high that fusion reactions took place, and made the very lightest elements - the base elements for all other elements - in the universe (hydrogen, two different
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    The scale of energy released through a fusion reaction (measured in millions of electron-volts - MeV) is around a million times greater than that of the energy released through the breaking of chemical bonds - the bonds between atoms (measured in eV), which is the source of energy for all non-photosynthetic heterotrophic life on Earth - such as Animals and Mushrooms, and that, which is in contained in fossil fuels. Fusion energy, does not (currently)
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    Image Above: Barnard 68, a molecular (black) cloud of gas and dust, which will become a star, perhaps in the next 100,000 years. At the moment, it is still very cold (around 4 Kelvin), and so the particles are moving around very slowly, and gravity has not yet began to dominate. Once gravity dominates, the star will begin to collapse (known at this stage as a protostar), and eventually the core will be hot enough,
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    Overview of Forces in Atoms An atom is a basic unit of matter, comprising of a dense, very small, nucleus at it's centre, surrounded at a relatively huge distance, by negatively charged electron(s) in orbit (the orbit is described as the electron shell or cloud), which are attracted by the electromagnetic force to the nucleus - mediated by protons. The Nucleus consists of electrically neutral neutrons, and positively charged protons (except hydrogen 1H, which doesn't have a neutron), which are bound together by the Strong Nuclear Force - mediated by