Sun Facts

Written by Leanna Serras

The Star

The sun is the largest object in the solar system, and it accounts for more than 99% of the total mass in the solar system. The planet Earth is located about 150,000,000 kilometers away from the sun, but the distance is not constant. Since the Earth has an elliptical orbit around the sun, it comes close to a distance of 147,000,000 kilometers from the sun once a year on the 3 rd of January, and it reaches a distance of 152,000,000 kilometers on the 4 th of July six months later. The sun is actually a star, and its mass is made up of 70% hydrogen, 28% helium, and 2% metals. Its diameter is 1,390,000 kilometers, and it is larger than most of the stars in the galaxy.

Exposure to the Sun

Sunlight sustains all life on earth, allowing the plants to produce food through photosynthesis. Other than regulating life, the sun also regulates the climate and weather of the Earth. Though sunlight is vital for supporting all life on earth, not all components of sunlight are beneficial. The ultraviolet light (UV) that the sun emanates can be very damaging to the human eye and skin. The UV light can be further divided into UVA and UVB, both of which are potentially dangerous to human skin. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin irritations and skin cancer. Premature ageing of the skin is ascribed to UVA, and doctors believe that UVB is the component of sunlight that causes skin cancer. Therefore, UVB is the more dangerous of the two, and lotioning-up is the easiest way to prevent it from harming your skin.

Benefits of the Sun

Sunlight has a brighter side too. Sunlight helps in the release of vitamin D in the human body, and it enhances people’s mood by stimulating their bodies to release healthy hormones. To reap the benefits of sunlight, humans need a few minutes of exposure to sunlight. The same principle goes for sun tanning and sun bathing. If the skin is exposed to excessive sunlight, it can be harmed. Therefore, the safest method of tanning is to expose the skin to the sun gradually.

Protecting Your Skin

Additionally, it is equally important for a person to know his or her skin type and apply a sunscreen as a protective measure against the harmful UV rays of the sun. All human beings have a natural pigment called melanin in their skin that prevents sunburns, but the amount of melanin varies from one skin type to another. A very fair skin will be protected by melanin for about ten minutes, whereas in dark skin, melanin may provide protection for hours. Therefore, it is crucial for people to know their skin types and choose their sunscreens accordingly.

Makeup Meltdown

Makeup meltdown is another problem that is caused by excessive sunlight. The easy way to tackle this problem is to buy a good quality brand makeup or perfume. Also, makeup meltdown can be prevented by applying a good foundation, locking in the color of your makeup, and finally, using waterproof mascara on the eyes.

Solar Folklore

The sun is all pervasive. Besides affecting people’s lives and health, it has also influenced the folklore of a number of civilizations The Egyptians worshipped the sun as the sun god Ra. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that the sun symbolized a god riding on a chariot of fire across the sky every day. The South American Indians observed the sun to determine upcoming festivals and ceremonies. Therefore, it is evident that no one can escape from the wide reaching effects of the sun, and no one will be able to do so in the future.