Have you heard about Aditya L1? It is the first Indian mission to study the sun! It aims to predict Earth-directed storms through solar observations.
close-up of the setting sun
But the significance of the sun isn’t just confined to space technologies. India has been fostering the energy of the sun since ancient times. The Vedas, Puranas, and Upanishads have already left behind immense information regarding the ball of fire. The Matsya Purana identifies the sun as “Aarogyam Bhaskaradichhet” which translates to the giver of good health.
- Ancient India had devised several ways to sync with solar energy and utilize it for the body. Surya namaskar,surya kriya and surya shakti are a few of them. Worshiping the sun is a part of the rich Indian tradition.
sun god being worshiped during Chhath puja
- The ball of fire has a significant role to play in Astro science as the dominant body of a system around which everything revolves.
- The Vedas and Upanishads mention the sun as the most potent god while modern science certifies that the sun supports all forms of life on earth.
- It is thus believed that the sun is both – the giver and sustainer of life, the same being mentioned in Rig Veda.
- Various names have been assigned to the sun beginning from Surya, Aditya, Hiranyagarbha to Omkar and Udgeet.
Greek mythology identifies the sun as Helios or Titan and it is believed that he drove a chariot every day from east to west across the magnificent sky and sailed in the ocean at night. 5th-century B.C.E saw the interpretation of Apollo as the god of radiant energy while the Roman empire worshiped the sun as the unconquered one!
Born from solar nebula:
The sun was formed from the solar nebula which was a spinning cloud of gas and dust.it is said that this nebula collapsed under its gravity and spun rapidly hence flattening into a disk. A large chunk of the gas and dust was pulled to the center of the disk and accounts for 99.8% mass of the solar system while the remaining formed the planets and other objects! All this occurred 4.6 billion years ago which is the age of the sun.
A ball of fire to a white dwarf:
Scientists have predicted that the sun will run out of energy and turn into a white dwarf. The process will begin with the expansion of size. The sun will expand manifolds and turn into a red ball which will engulf other planets. It is estimated that the sun will last another 5 billion years and will eventually run out of energy.
93 million miles away from the earth:
The yellow dwarf star is 150 million kilometers from Earth and is the only star in our solar system. The energy of the sun is crucial for all forms of life on Earth. The dynamic star has a diameter of 1.39 million km with a surface temperature of 6000 degrees Celsius. The glowing ball of hydrogen and helium has a density that is 1.41 times that of water. The dynamic star radiates energy out into space constantly. The interior of the sun is composed of the core, radiative zone, and convective zone while the solar atmosphere comprises the photosphere, chromosphere, and corona.
Solar winds and aurora:
close-up of northern lights
Solar winds are energized particles radiating out of the sun. charged particles like electrons and protons flow outwards at a speed of 900 km/ sec and a temperature of 1 million degrees. When magnetic field lines of the Earth and solar winds interact, the aurora is formed. It is a natural light display in the sky observed specifically in the high latitude regions. The charged particles enter the atmosphere and cause excitation of the atmospheric constituents resulting in the same.
Do you know what heliophysics is?
The science of studying the sun and its interaction with other objects in the solar system is known as heliophysics. As per NASA, the constant outflow of particles from the sun affects the interplanetary space which interacts with the planetary atmospheres and causes space weather. The effects of these solar winds are studied through heliophysics.
Have you heard about solar flares?
solar flare on Earth’s magnetosphere
The Center of excellence in space sciences India(CESSI), Kolkata had predicted a solar flare that showed up last year in November. There was a leap in the transverse magnetic fields and the density of plasma winds along with coronal mass ejections.
close-up of solar flare during an eclipse
The deep interiors of the sun witness a solar magnetic cycle and create certain regions that rise and appear like dark spots. These spots are called sunspots. They are the sites of the solar flare.
- The flare occurs when the energy of the sun’s magnetic structures gets converted to heat and light energy.
- The result is an emission of x-ray radiation from the sun. highly accelerated charged particles leave the sun’s surface during the process.
- The flare is a magnetic storm that appears bright and results in gaseous eruptions.
- Many times the solar flares can cause the hot plasma to be ejected from the sun. This is called coronal mass ejection. These ejections can harbor energies that exceed a billion atomic bombs.
Do you know what solar prominence is?
close-up of the sheet like appearance of solar prominence
A large bright feature extending out of the Sun’s surface is solar prominence. They are anchored in the photosphere and radiate out in the corona which is the outer atmosphere of the sun. stable prominences stay for several months and loop hundreds of miles in the space. The reason behind the occurrence of prominences is being researched.
The power to heal:
Sun is associated with several health benefits. Solar treatment is an ancient science mentioned in Atharva Veda and Rig Veda. We all are advised to wake up early in the morning.do you know why? It is because the rays of the sun in the morning are more beneficial than other times of the day. It is believed that living in the sun is akin to living in the world of magic.
Plays a very important role in nature.