It simply doesn’t feel like summer unless the sky is blue and the sun is shining?and the bright skies make the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities, too. On the other hand, a little too much sunshine can damage skin and cause heat exhaustion. This week’s links take a closer look at the great ball of fire that warms our planet.
Last week was an exciting one for solar scientists: the sun had a solar flare, which was particularly memorable as it ejected incredibly large numbers of particles into space. Scientists believe it may have been one of the biggest solar emissions in history. The above video of the flare is fascinating to watch. (For more information, check out National Geographic‘s article.)
The sun may look small in the sky, but its size compared to Earth is, well, astronomical. In fact, scientists say that nearly ?99.9% of all the matter in the solar system is inside the Sun.? But don’t assume that the sun is the largest star out there in space. As this size slideshow demonstrates, It’s actually quite small in comparison to some of the massive, and familiar, stars visible in the night sky.
Sure, the sun’s hot, but It’s the ultraviolet rays emanating from it that cause skin damage and put sunbathers at risk for melanoma. This brochure, from the US Environmental Protection Agency, talks candidly about the types of UV radiation and how best to protect ourselves from them.