The Day Star

Sun Rises over Goose Creek ~ August 2007

Our sun is 93 million miles away. It’s energy output is 386 billion billion megawatts per second; earth receives only the tiniest fraction of that total. Light traveling at, well, the speed of light reaches us in about 8 minutes, though it would take us 176 years to drive there at 60 mph. It is 4.5 billion years old and 900,000 miles across. It is 10 million degrees K at its center and 300,000 times the mass of the Earth (and 99.8% of the mass of the entire solar system.)

We seldom have a chance to see the orb of the sun like this and tend to acknowledge it, if we think about it at all, only as some vague brightness overhead.

That it is just exactly how and where it is in relationship to the Third Planet happens to be one of those “happy accidents” or Providential appointments to which we owe our very existance.

Don’t look at it. But do give it some thought next time you put on your sun glasses or close your blinds to keep it out.

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Hey Fred!!

    Enjoy reading your blog daily!!
    One slight correction though, is in order. . .
    Sunlight reaches our planet in approximately
    8 MINUTES instead of 8 SECONDS. Nevertheless. . .a beautiful photo speaks for itself!! Keep up the excellent work!!

  2. I knew that was wrong when I typed it, then never went back and changed it. Thanks for the errata notice. Keep me accurate in my rambling!

  3. Our Sun ~ something I don’t give much thought too. But I should think about it more, because of it’s major importance in our lives.

  4. During these hot, hot, hot sunny days of August it is good of you to not bad mouth this important star.

    I am glad to have smiled to the sun today (instead of the usual ducking and running as of lately). Thanks for the romantic reminder!