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The Sun is the largest object in our solar system. It is composed of seven layers: three inner layers and four outer layers. The inner layers are the core, the radiative zone and the convection zone, while the outer layers are the photosphere, the chromosphere, the transition region and the corona.
See the fact file below for more information on the layers of the Sun or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Layers of the Sun worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The Sun is a star at the center of the Solar System. It is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, with internal convective motion that generates a magnetic field via a dynamo process. Its diameter is about 1.39 million kilometers (864,000 miles) or 109 times that of Earth. Its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth.
- It accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System. The Sun currently fuses about 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium every second, converting 4 million tons of matter into energy every second.
- Photosphere: This is the Sun’s lowest layer and the layer visible directly from Earth. It is also called the solar surface. Much of this layer is covered by granulation caused by bubbling gas in the convection layer and sunspots caused by strong magnetic fields.
- The Sun’s granulation looks grainy in the photosphere which results in the appearance of bright cells with dark edges. The photosphere’s temperature varies from roughly 6500 degrees Kelvin at the bottom to 4000 degrees Kelvin at the top.
- Chromosphere: This is the layer of the Sun between 250 miles and 1300 miles above the photosphere. The chromosphere has temperatures around 4000 degrees Kelvin at the base, and 8000 degrees Kelvin at the top.
- As a result, in this layer and other higher layers of the Sun, the temperature increases further away from the Sun, unlike in lower layers where it gets hotter nearer to the center, according to research by NASA.
- Transition region: This layer is very thin with a size of about 60 miles and is between the corona and the chromosphere. In the transition region, temperature rises rapidly from roughly 8000 to 500,000 degrees Kelvin. Scientists are yet to discover the cause of this rapid rise in temperature.
- Corona: This is the Sun’s outermost layer. It starts at roughly 1300 miles above the photosphere and has no upper limit. Its temperature is between 500,000 degrees Kelvin to 1 million degrees Kelvin. The corona cannot be seen with the naked eye, but can be viewed using a coronagraph telescope during a total solar eclipse.
- Core: The core is the Sun’s middle region where energy is generated by thermonuclear reactions, which create extreme temperatures of about 15 million degrees Celsius.
- These nuclear reactions use hydrogen to produce helium. As a result, energy is released, which leaves the Sun’s surface as light and heat, which we receive on Earth, according to NASA studies.
- The core extends to roughly a quarter of the way from the Sun’s center.
- Radiative zone: This zone is between the core and the convective zone and is roughly 70 percent of the Sun’s radius. Energy produced through nuclear fusion in the core moves steadily outwards as electromagnetic radiation, taking over 170,000 years to pass through the radiative zone. In this zone, energy is carried outwards through radiation by photon carriers through a process where it bounces many times in zigzagging paths.
- Convection zone: This layer of the sun is above the radiative zone and is the outermost layer of the Sun’s interior. It stretches from as deep as around 200,000 kilometers right up to the visible surface. The temperature at the bottom of the convection zone is about 2 million degrees Celsius.
- Energy moves towards the Sun’s surface through convection currents of heated and cooled gas. This happens when the density of the radiative zone gets very low and the energy from the core in light form is converted to heat.
- Heat from the edge of the radiative zones rises until it cools enough to sink back down. This pattern of heated material rising and cooling occurs in the convection zone cells.
Layers of the Sun Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the layers of the Sun across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Layers of the Sun worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Sun which is the largest object in our solar system. It is composed of seven layers: three inner layers and four outer layers. The inner layers are the core, the radiative zone and the convection zone, while the outer layers are the photosphere, the chromosphere, the transition region and the corona.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Layers of the Sun
- Label Me
- Sun Facts
- Jumbled Sun
- In and Out
- Inner Layers
- Good Basket, Trash Basket
- Sunrise or Sunset?
- Fact or Bluff?
- I Search
- Acrostic Poem
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Link will appear as Layers of the Sun Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 18, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.