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Background to Solar Astronomy

Danielle Moakes

Danielle Moakes next to a telescope

The sun is a very important part of our solar system. Residing 150 million kilometres from Earth, it contains almost a thousand times the mass of all the planets, asteroids and meteoroids put together. It is a typical G2 type main sequence star, which life on Earth is dependant upon. For this reason it is important to understand the Sun itself, processes and activity which take place both on and underneath the `surface'.

The Structure of the Sun

The Sun is made up of two main areas: the Solar Interior and the Solar Atmosphere.

The picture on the left shows the structure of the Sun. The solar interior (i.e. anything below the Photosphere) is made up of the Central Core, the Radiative Zone and the Convection Zone. The interior extends to the radius of the Sun. The atmosphere consists of the Photosphere, the Chromosphere and the Corona.