The Sun

When you look up at the night sky, you see lots and lots of stars. The sun is one of those, only a lot closer! That’s right: the very same Sun that lights up the daytime sky is actually a star, like the twinkling dots that sparkle overhead at night.

The Sun is a fairly typical star that sits at the center of our Solar System (By the way, in Latin, the word “sol” means “sun” and “solaris” means “of the sun.” So, that’s how we got the word “solar.”).

So what, exactly, is the Sun? It’s a huge ball of glowing gas that’s made mostly of hydrogen (about 70%) and helium (about 28%). And, it’s so big that all the planets are held in their orbits by the Sun’s gravity. And what, exactly, is gravity? It’s the force that makes smaller things fall toward bigger things, like an apple falling from a tree (small) to the Earth (big). Gravity is what holds you on the ground and it’s the same force that holds the planets in place as they circle around the Sun.

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth saying again: DON’T EVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN! It’s a beautiful star, but it can damage your eyes if you look too closely. So feel free to look as long as you want at all those nighttime stars, but don’t ever look directly at our daytime star.

Bright Ideas

Quotes About Space

“Space is for everybody. It’s not just for a few people in science or math, or for a select group of astronauts. That’s our new frontier out there, and it’s everybody’s business to know about space.”
Christa McAuliffe

“Space isn’t far away at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away, if your car could go straight upwards.”
Fred Hoyle

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upward.”

“Forty years as an astronomer has not lessened my enthusiasm for lying outside after dark, looking up at the skys.”
Frank Drake

“The sky is the ultimate art gallery just above us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nifty Fifty

About Florida

It’s a Fact: Florida is nicknamed “The Sunshine State” because it’s so sunny and warm.

It’s a Fact: The Kennedy Space Center, which is located on the east coast of Florida, is America’s main spaceport, where rockets are blasted into space.

It’s a Fact: Florida is famous for its sunny beaches. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east coast of Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico is on the west coast.

It’s a Fact: The capital of Florida is Tallahassee. The largest cities in Florida are Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa.

It’s a Fact: The abbreviation for Florida is FL.

More Fun Facts

Fun Fact: The Sun is about 865,000 miles wide. That’s about 110 times wider than the Earth. If the earth were the size of a tennis ball, the sun would be a huge ball 24 feet across, and it would be half a mile away.

Fun Fact: The sun is about 93 million miles from earth. If you could drive a car to the sun at 60 miles per hour, it would take about 177 years to get there!

Fun Fact: Light from the Sun takes about 8 minutes to reach Earth.

Fun Fact: The sun is a star, like the other stars you see at night. But, the sun is much, much brighter because it’s much, much closer. If you shined a light at the next nearest star, it would take over four years for that beam of light to arrive there.

Fun Fact: The earth’s average speed as it circles around the sun is 66,616 miles per hour.

Questions and Answers
Just for fun,
see if you can answer these questions.
How long does it take light from the Sun to reach Earth? About 8 minutes, about 8 hours, or about 8 days?
It only takes about 8 minutes for the Sun’s light to reach the Earth. Why so fast? Because light travels at about 186,000 miles per second!
Is it safe to look at the Sun through fog or clouds?
Nope. Even when the Sun’s light is lessened by clouds or fog, the light still carries UV rays that can do permanent damage to your eyes. So don’t ever look directly at the Sun, even if you can see it on a foggy day.
Is the capital of Florida Miami, Tallahassee, or Jacksonville.
Which large body of water is on the west coast of Florida? Is it the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico?
The Gulf of Mexico. Floridians call it “the Gulf” for short.
Write Your Own Story

If you have time, you can write a story of your own.

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Here are a few story ideas you can choose from.

Idea #1: You can write a story that tells some of the fun facts you learned about the Sun.


Idea #2: You can write a story about our home galaxy: the Milky Way. For more facts about the Milky Way, the-milky-way-our-home-galaxy.

To help you write a great story, we have some helpful hints and timely tips.

Today's Ryder Riddle
Here's a riddle for you:
Why did the Sun go to school?
It wanted to be brighter.
The Mystery Ryders

For fun-to-read books about a girl detective who homeschools on a train... check out The Mystery Ryders, a series from the creators of the Homeschool Express.

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