Schematic view of the inner structure of the Sun
Click on image for full size and a more detailed image of the interior of the Sun
The Solar Interior
To understand how our Sun works, it helps to imagine that the inside
of the Sun is made up of different layers, one inside the other.
The core, or the center of the Sun, is the region where the energy of the Sun is produced. Even on Earth we know
that the Sun produces energy because we see sunlight and we feel hot on a summer day.
The Sun's energy, which is produced in the core, travels outwards.
The energy travels first through the
radiative zone, where particles of light (photons) carry the energy. It
actually takes millions of years for a photon to move to the next layer,
the convection zone.
convection zone, energy is transferred more rapidly. This time it is
the motion of the gases in the Sun that transfers the energy outwards.
The gas at this layer mixes and bubbles, like the motion in a pot of boiling
water.This bubbling effect is seen on
the surface of the Sun,
and is called granulation.
We can't see inside the Sun. So scientists
use other diagnostics. These
diagnostics help us know what is inside the Sun.
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