Once we thought we were at the centre of the universe, then, we realized, after the Galileo affair took place when he confirmed Nicolaus Copernicus’ heliocentric theory that we might have been wrong.
You May Call Me, RA or any other belief of your liking!
We had to go a long way before recognizing it as a star among billions of others and that in fact, might not be as special as we originally thought it to be. One thing remains for sure: all stars live long and die hard!
You know, back when no one knew about space or barely started to be able to flick a rock to create fire at will, people were actually creating stories to keep themselves entertained. There was no wifi, no computers or televisions! (I know, it is a scary thought!) So, they had to find other ways to enjoy themselves and therefore, find a purpose for the sun.
The Sumerians, the first civilization known to have created a written language, believed that the sun was the god of Justice named, Utu. Them as well, had a very interesting mythology based on common objects of various surfaces such as the sky, thus the sun.In Ancient Egypt, we’re talking at least two thousand years B.C., the god Ra – the one with the falcon head, was the one associated with our sun. As of the New Empire, the sun began to be associated with the dung beetle.
Then we have the very popular, Greek mythology, in which the sun is represented by a male god known as Helios, who later on was combined with Apollo. However, there is also a female goddess related to the sun in Helen of Troy.
In the Mayan culture, Kinich Ahau was the Yucatec and Lacandon name of the god associated with the sun. Some rituals were related to the god figure, but very little are described.
While in the Roman mythology they would pray to the first rays of sun, Sunday was the day associated with the star, which has a similar meaning in Christianity as well. After all, it is portrayed to be the emblem of justice and also related to Jesus Christ.
But, let’s not forget paganism where the sun was a sign of life and illumination for mankind. Paganism has a popular celebration related to the winter solstice known as Yule also celebrates the light of day as people would be orientated toward the sun.
Sól, meaning “sun” in old Norse language, was obviously the god associated with our bright star. It is also part of the old Germanic mythology that Sunna was the one to represent the sun.
A little darker, but somewhat interesting, in Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh was the one associated with the sun and also was associated with human sacrifice. Not something I would have liked to be chosen for.
As I’ve come to understand that the sun had a place in almost all religions and mythologies, I realize how important it actually is to all cultures through many fields. The sun inspires everyone and still captures the imagination over many.
Suns are a star normally placed at the centre of solar systems, like our own. As we can see it, it is a round shaped sphere that has us an our others planets rotate it all year round, thus having us depend on it for our solar calendar that we are still using to this day.
The hot plasma sphere that we rely own to live, has what is called an internal convective motion that has it generate magnetic field. The sun is really our prime source of energy and the greatest provider of life as we know on Earth.
Don’t think it is the greatest of all though, its diameter is only about 1.39 millions kilometres. In other words, the Earth can fit over a hundred times in it! Yes, it is by far, not one of the giants. And if one day, you think you are fat and your body mass is too heavy, look at the sun and think that it’s over 300,000 times the mass of Earth.
What is fascinating about our sun is that roughly three quarters of it is hydrogen, a chemical element many scientists and engineer are thinking of replacing gas with in cars! Too bad there is no way to extract it! Haha!
Another fun fact, is that most of what is left is helium, another chemical element that is getting rarer on Earth and yet, we highly need. Other elements would be most common and heavier such as oxygen, iron, neon and carbon.
A Little History
Formed about 4.6 billion years ago (now popularized by The Big Bang Theoryintroduction song) by a gravitational collapse inside a cloud filled with molecules has made our sun commonly known as a yellow dwarf. What does that implied?
Well, it made our solar system possible when everything surrounding it flattened into a disk shape and decided to orbit around it.
What is common about suns is that once a nuclear fusion is activated when the central mass goes up to a certain temperature in the core, it creates a sun. Ours is halfway through its life already, not that it appeared to have aged one bit, but it only has about five billion years left.
How Does A Sun Dies?
What a dark question! Well, a sun is not easily killed. It basically dies when all gases are burned out and extinguished. It’s a little more complicated actually. Watch our for the big words! I’ll try to be as clear as possible!
When the time comes where the hydrogen fusion at the core of the sun has come low enough that it is no longer in that state of “hydrostatic equilibriium” — it means at rest or always constant over time, the core of the sun will then gain density and reach a higher temperature until its outer layers will expand to have it turn into what we know as a red giant.
Some suns turn into black holes, but our own is not big enough to produce that much energy therefore collapsing into a white dwarf to eventually look like the ring nebula.
And, what happens next?
When scientists made their equations and predictions based on facts and theories and mathematics I would guess too.
They have come to the conclusion that our sun, once turned into an abominable red giant will absorb not only Mercury, which stands way too close for comfort, but also the angry goddess known as Venus therefore turning Earth into a useless rock deprived of life.
Not a very bright distant future for our dear, Earth, but think of it this way: at least we’re not inhabiting Mercury. I wonder what it will do to Jupiter and Neptune? They are gas giants… I’ll have to dig into that for another article.
Death By Solar Flares?
But I would believe that before the inevitable end occurs, unless we come up with an effective shield to protect us against the solar flares, we will face a “stone age” situation where the planet’s natural magnetic shield fails to protect us and our technology.
Solar flares are bright and happens on the surface of the sun, sometimes followed by what is known as a coronal mass ejection. It is related to energy release and considered to be very violent. It is kept under study by many telescopes around the world and of course, Nasa that provides many good videos of the phenomenon.
Electrons, ions and atoms forms the cloud ejected by the sun as a solar flare and is normally accompanied by an electromagnetic wave from the sun’s corona into space. If touching the Earth’s upper atmosphere, we can observe vibrant auroras thus, leading to disruption of the long range radio communication.
Either way, it seems like we should think about either building a shield or aim for a new home eventually.
Live Long & Prosper.
The OCD Borg