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  what colour is the Sun
  how hot is the Sun?
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  does the Sun rotate?

what colour is the Sun?


Our Sun appears to be yellow, but actually it is white. There are also stars of many other colours. What causes the different colours? It's all down to the temperature of the surface of the star.

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Take a look at this chart. It shows stars with different temperatures. The temperature of most stars is between about 3,000 °C and 40,000 °C. Our Sun appears as a yellow star because of our atmoshere. It has a surface temperature of 6,000 °C, which makes it more white than yellow.


The Sun is often described as being yellow because the peak of its light output occurs near the wavelengths where our eyes see yellow. But since the Sun radiates at all wavelengths visible to the human eye, the overall effect (in the absence of any atmospheric effects) is that it appears to us as a white object. If the Sun were hotter and radiated much more of its light at shorter wavelengths, it would look more blue to us, like this.


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More Vital Statistics

At sunset or sunrise the Sun can appear very red.  This is because in that position the light is travelling a long way through the atmosphere which then absorbs a lot of the blue light and just leaves the red light to reach our eyes.


Ultaviolet image of the Sun

Image credit: SOHO/EIT


Here is an image of the Sun. It is an image taken in the ultraviolet wavelength range by the EIT instrument on the SOHO satellite. It's a false colour image, the detector on the satellite has captured the image data, the data has been processed and in this case coloured blue. We cannot see utraviolet radiation, so we can make the image any colour we like - blue, green, orange or even purple.


You can find out more about SOHO and other solar spacecraft by following this link.



how hot is the Sun? | how bright is the Sun?
how big is the Sun? | what's the mass of the Sun?

how old is the Sun | what is the Sun made of? | does the Sun rotate?




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