The Sun

Kids' illustration of the surface of Sun.
How old is the sun? Can you imagine 4.5 billion years?

Our Very Own Star

Our star -- the sun -- is the center of our solar system. Without our sun, there would be no life on Earth. It is the star that is closest to Earth. There are lots of stars like the sun. Some stars are bigger. Some are smaller.

Why do you think the
sun is so much brighter
than all the other stars
you can see in the sky?
Color image of the whole Sun.

Our sun is just right for us.

Like other stars, our sun is a ball of hot, glowing gases. The part we can see is about 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit (6,100 degrees Celsius). It gets hotter as you go deeper. The hottest the oven in your kitchen gets is 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius). The surface of our sun boils like a pot of soup. It also shoots flares of hot gas thousands of miles into space.

Eight planets, bunches of moons, asteroids, comets, dwarf planets and a whole lot of other things go around our sun. The path the planets take around the sun is called an orbit. Moons orbit, too, but they go around a planet.

The sun is way too hot to visit. A person or spacecraft couldn't even get near it. Even if you could get close, powerful gravity would make one of your arms weigh as much as your whole body. It would be impossible to move.