PHYS 2600 GENERAL ASTROLOGY.docx

PHYS 2600 GENERAL ASTROLOGY.docx - PHYS*2600 GENERAL...

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PHYS*2600 GENERAL ASTROLOGY UNIT 7 – THE SUN Introduction The sun is the energy powerhouse of the Solar System. Every second it produces an astounding amount of energy through the process of nuclear fusion, sending 10 25 Joules of energy to Earth each year (for comparison, the world energy consumption is 10 20 J per year). What would we like to know about stars? Let’s make a list: 1. What is their mass? 2. What is their temperature? 3. What is their size (diameter)? 4. What is their internal structure? 5. What are they made of? 6. What is their source of energy? 7. How far away are they? 8. What is their state of motion? 9. Why do they differ in brightness? 10. Do they have a finite life? If so how old are they? How are they born? How do they die? 11. How are they grouped in space-randomly or in some other way? Questions 1-6 is the main focus of this unit. Since the sun is so close to us there are many details about it which we do not see on any other star, not because they are absent but because the others are so far away. This includes such things as, the granulation of the solar surface, the Sunspots, solar flares etc. We will deal with these items first before we go to the basics that we believe are common to all stars. LEARNING OUTCOMES By the end of this unit you will be able to: Compare the size of the Sun to the rest of the constituents of the solar system; particularly in how its mass dominates the solar system. Describe the structure and properties of the Sun’s atmosphere. Describe the basic ideas of the nuclear model of the atom and how the various nuclear particles (proton, neutron and electron) account for that structure. Explain how thermonuclear fusion within the Sun acts as an energy source and reaults in mass- loss. Relate the conditions for fusion to our understanding of the structure and stability of the Sun. Describe the difficulty of studying the energy-producing core of the Sun and the role of neutrino observatories in this study.
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PHYS*2600 GENERAL ASTROLOGY
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PHYS*2600 GENERAL ASTROLOGY The Mass of the Sun It would take a string of more than 100 Earth’s side by side to span the Sun; although the average density of the sun is only ¼th of Earth’s, if you somehow found yourself in the Sun’s core, you would be compressed down to the size of your textbook (With enough time to say “ouch” before becoming an active contributor to thermonuclear fusion). The mass of the Sun can be found in just the way we found the mass of the planets. You will remember that Kepler’s 3 rd law made it possible to find the mass of anything that had a satellite. The planets are satellites of the Sun, so their periods and distances can be used to determine the Sun’s mass. The Sun’s mass is 2*10 30 kg.
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