Science Snippets
You Big Sun of a ...

By Fred Baer
March, 2004

Do you realize that you could fit more than a million earths into the sun? Of course, you would have to cheat a bit and pack the earths down so you wouldnít have those empty spaces between the spheres. Packing down the earths would not do them much good, but then neither would dropping them into the sun. In fact the sun itself would probably be inclined to act up. However, if you were a bit less ambitious and only dropped our earth into the sun, the sun would probably not do more than give a small, refined burp.

Letís look at the size of the sun a second way. If the moon passes between the sun and the earth, you get an eclipse of the sun. If the earth passes between the sun and the moon, you get an eclipse of the moon. If the sun were to pass between the earth and the moon, it would be the eclipse of us all. From the earth to the moon is about 250,000 miles; the diameter of the sun is about 865,000 miles or about 3-1/2 times the earth moon distance. (A word of warning, scientists expect that the sun will swell up and swallow both the earth and the moon. Not to worry, that should not happen for another 5 billion years or so. Donít believe the scientists? Just wait and see.)

How about a third look at the size of the sun? Suppose you were aboard an airplane circling the earth non-stop at 500 miles per hour. The earth is roughly 25,000 miles around, so your trip would take about 50 hours or 2 days and 2 hours. Suppose you tried the same 500 miles per hour trip around the sun; the distance would be about 2.7 million miles and take 227 days or about 7-1/2 months. The rest rooms would really be funky by then.

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