NASA is exploring the sun like never before. In 2018, it launched the parker solar probe, which is swooping to within 6.2 million kilometers of the sun’s surface the closest we’ve ever been. Firstly its pretty hot from 7 million to 10 million kilometers above the sun’s surface we reach the CORONA, the outermost layer of the sun. It blazes at 1 million degree celsius, nearly 900 times as hot as lava. And its tens of thousands of times brighter here than on earth. Now the probe’s heat shield works like a very good mirror, reflecting 99.9% of the incoming light. At about 3000 kilometres above the surface, CHROMOSPHERE is the second layer of the sun. These loops of gas are suspended by a powerful magnetic field and stretched for tens of thousands of kiometres beyond the sun. They can reach over to 10000 degree Celsius, exactly the sort of obstacle you’de want to avoid when flying a spacecraft into the sun. And the next layer is just as PERILOUS – the photosphere. This is the surface of the sun we see every day. It’s just a giant ball of hydrogen and helium gas. So instead of landing on the photosphere, you’re going to sink into it. One of the biggest dangerous in the photosphere comes from the black spots and they are named as SUNSPOTS.
They’re cooler regions of gas, some as large as the entire earth. The sunspots are produced by powerful magnetic fields coming from inside the sun, would fry your electronics, but importantly when a sunspot forms, a solar flare often follows. That’s when magnetic fields and superhot gas violently erupt from the surface, releasing much energy as 10 billion hydrogen bombs. Just beneath the surface is the convective zone. Here, temperature reach 2 million degree Celsius. That’s hotter than your heat shield was designed to handle. In fact’s no material on earth that could withstand this heat. The best we’ve got is a compound called tantalum carbide, which can handle about 4000 degrees celsius. On earth, we use it to coat jet engine blades. So it’s not possible to stay there. But for curiosity’s sake, let’s keep going.
At 2000 kilometres down, we hit the radiactive zone. This is the thickest later of the sun. It makes us almost half of the entire radius because the pressure is atleast 100 million times greater than at sea level on earth. Because it’s so dense there’s not much room for light waves to travel, which means, its pitch black. Instead of travelling across the radiative zone and hitting your eye, the light waves slam into electrons and other particles in the plasma. And some even rebound inward towards the last stop, the core. 5,00,000 kilometres below the surface, the centre of the sun makes up nearly quarter of its radius. The pressure has risen to more than 200 billon times the pressure at sea level on earth, pressing the surrounding atoms so closely together that its about 10 times denser 5than iron. It’s a blistering 15 million degree Celsius, making it the hottest place in the entire solar system. Now, contrary to popular belief, the sun is not actually om fire. Instead all the energy is created through the nuclear reaction which slams hydrogen atoms together to create large helium atoms and some extra energy on the side. So even, if you managed to survive the blistering heat, thr solar flares and the crushing pressure, you have to click out of the solar systems biggest nuclear recator. Maybe the closest encounter to the sun should be on the beach.
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