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Introduction By far the Sun is the most massive body in our solar system The mass of all the planets combined is only about 02 of the Suns mass The Sun is also the only object whose internal temperature is high enough to produce nuclear reactions If Jupiter had been 100 times more massive or 110 of the mass of the Sun ours would have been a binary star system While gas giant planets such as Jupiter do emit more energy than they receive from the Sun only the Sun owes its internal pressure to nuclear fusion Nuclear fusion generates all the power emitted by our star This energy heats up the gas to very high temperatures The Sun shines because it is made of incandescent gas with a surface temperature of about 5800 K Because of its high temperature the Sun emits light in a wide spectrum of wavelengths with a peak in what we consider the visible part of the spectrum The fact that our eyes are sensitive to light of wavelengths corresponding to the Suns peak emission is no coincidence of course Most of the other light from our Sun fortunately does not reach the ground since our atmosphere absorbs it If ult raviolet and X-ray radiation reached the Earths surface they would be devastating to on our planet The portion of the light that we receive from the Sun powers all atmospheric phenomena and ultimately life itself Far from having a uniform surface and from emitting a constant amount of energy per unit time the Sun is very dynamic and displays activity cycles The best known is the eleven-year cycle during which the number of sunspots and other disturbances of the solar atmosphere greatly change in number and intensity The eleven-year cycle is intimately connected with the intensity of the solar wind a stream of charged particles emitted by our star that continuously collides
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