The Sun: A Guide About the Layers and the Energy

This guide tells you what the layers of the Sun are, how energy is released, and how the energy travel through the layers.

About 98.6% of the solar system’s mass is in the Sun. The Sun is a giant ball of burning hot gas. It has many layers and its surface is hard to define.

Energy Source

The Sun’s energy source is nuclear fusion of Hydrogen (H1) into Helium (He4), which releases a vast amount of energy once it starts. The Sun formed as a nebula collapsed on itself, which made the density increase. As the density reaches 158 g/cm3 and the temperature reaches 7 million Celsius, Hydrogen starts combining into Helium. The energy released activate other Hydrogen so that the fusion will continue after it started, this is because the reaction is exothermic, a chemical reaction that release more energy than the cost of activation energy.

First, the high temperature offset the reaction, combining 2 H1 into a H2, releasing energy. Then, the H2 combines with another H1, creating a He3 and releasing energy again. The He3 then combines with another He3, forming a He4 and 2 H1 while releasing more energy.

Layers of the Sun

The Sun has 6 layers, from deepest to shallowest they are, Core, Radiation zone, Convection zone, Photosphere, Chromosphere, and Corona.

Nuclear fusion is found in the Core only. The energy travels outward, mainly as light energy in the Radiation zone. In the Convection zone, energy travels outward mainly by the convection of hot gas. The Photosphere is the visible surface of the Sun. The Chromosphere is the inner atmosphere of the Sun and the Corona is the outer, they both can only be seen in a total eclipse.

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