Our wild and crazy neighbor

Although the Sun appears to the observer on Earth as little more than a bright, white dot, it is actually the most wild, crazy, and dynamic force in the solar system.

On any given day, with the right equipment, or a particularly polluted sunrise, one can see the surface of the sun covered in little black freckles. These are known as sunspots, and are slightly cooler portions of the Sun’s surface. Due to the high temperature and conditions of the stellar body, it is common for magnetic field lines to rise out of the star and twist. The sunspots represent places where the field lines pass through the photosphere and up into space. Occasionally these can snap and the result is a solar flare. Just within these past few weeks, the Sun released a large number of dazzling flares, the results of which can be occasionally seen in electrical systems and aurorae.

It should be common knowledge that most bodies in the solar system are not quite round. The Earth is wider at the equator than at the poles and in the case of the moon Iapetus, the moon looks more like a walnut than a sphere. The Sun on the other hand is very spherical with the polar axis being shorter than the equatorial axis by approximately 10 kilometers. On a smaller body, like a moon of Mars, this would be a large amount, but compared to the total average diameter of around 1,392,684 kilometers it is a small difference. One would assume that due to spin, the center should have a huge bulge, and in other stars, there is a bulge, but the Sun has low angular momentum, keeping it slim at the equator. Appreciate the uniqueness of the Sun, and may the stars



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