• Equatorial radius: 695 700 km (x 109 Earths)
  • Mass: (1.988 55 ± 0.000 25) x 1030 kg
  • Volume: 1.41 x 1018 km3 (x 1 300 000 Earths)
  • Surface area: 6.09 x 1012 km2 (x 12 000 Earths)
  • Temperature: Photosphere 5 772 K or 5 498°C
    Corona ~5 000 000 K
  • Surface gravity: 274.0 m/s2 (27.94 G or x 28 Earths)
  • Mean distance: ~2.7 x 1017 km
  • Mean distance form Milky Way core: 27 200 light-years
  • Galactic year:  225 to 250 million years
  • Rotation period at equator: 25 days 9 hours 7 minutes 12 seconds
  • Velocity: ~220 km/s (around Milky Way center)
    ~20 km/s (relatively to other neighboring stars)
    ~370 km/s (relative to Cosmic Microwave Background)
  • Escape velocity: 617.7 km/s (x 55 Earths)
  • Age: ~4.6 billion years




Missions bound to Sun
Pioneer 5
Launch date: 11 March 1960, 13:00:07 UTC
Last contact: 30 April 1960
Mission type: Interplanetary space research
Mission duration: 50 days
Launch mass: 43 kg (95 lb)
Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-17A
Rocket: Thor DM-18 Able IV
Pioneer 6
Launch date: 16 December 1965
Last contact: 8 December 2000
Mission type: study solar wind, magnetic fields & Cosmic rays
Mission duration: 12 758 days (almost 35 years)
Launch mass: 146 kg
Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-17A
Rocket: Delta-E
Pioneer 7
Launch date: 17 August 1966
Last contact: March 1995 last tracked, space craft and one instrument still working
Mission type: study solar wind, magnetic fields & Cosmic rays
Mission duration:
Launch mass: 138 kg
Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-17A
Rocket: Delta-E
Pioneer 8
Launch date: 13 December 1967, 14:08:00 UTC
Last contact: 22 August 1996
Mission type: study solar wind, magnetic fields & Cosmic rays
Mission duration:
Launch mass: 146 kg
Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-17A
Rocket: Delta-E
Pioneer 9
Launch date: 8 November 1968, 09:46:00 UTC
Last contact: 1983 and attempted in 1987 but failed
Mission type: study solar wind, magnetic fields & Cosmic rays
Mission duration:
Launch mass: 147 kg
Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-17A
Rocket: Delta-E
Pioneer E
Launch date: August 1969
Last contact: Failed at launch
Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-17A
Rocket: Delta-L
Skylab Apollo solar observatory
Launch date: 14 May 1973, 17:30:00 UTC
Mass: 77 000 kg (170 000 lb)
Launch site: Kennedy Space Center LC-39A
Rocket: Saturn V
Helios A
Launch date: 10 December 1974
Last contact: 10 February 1986
Mission type: study solar processes
Mission duration: 10 years, 1 month and 2 days
Launch mass: 371.2 kg (818 lb)
Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-41
Rocket: Titan IIIE-Centaur
Helios B
Launch date: 15 January 1976
Last contact: 3 March 1980
Mission type: study solar processes
Mission duration:3 years, 5 months and 2 days
Launch mass: 374 kg (825 lb)
Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-41
Rocket: Titan IIIE-Centaur
Solar Maximum Mission
Launch date: 14 February 1980, 15:57:00 UTC
End of mission: 2 December 1989
Mission type: Solar physics
Launch mass: 2 315 kg (5 103.7 lb)
Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-17A
Rocket: Delta 3910
Launch date: 6 October 1990, 11:47:16 UTC
Deactivated: 30 June 2009
Mission type: International Solar Polar Mission
Launch mass: 370 kg (820 lb)
Launch site: Kennedy Space Center LC-39
Rocket:Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch date: 30 August 1991
Mission type: Solar physics
Reentry date: 12 September 2005
Launch mass: 390 kg (860 lb)
Launch site: Kagoshima M1
Rocket: M-3S-5
Launch date: 2 December 1995
Mission type: Solar physics
Launch mass: 1 850 kg (4 080 lb)
Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-36B
Rocket: Atlas IIAS AC-121
Launch date: 8 August 2001, 13:40 UTC
Return date: 8 September 2004, 16:55 UTC
Mission type: Sample Return Mission
Dry mass: 494 kg (1 089 lb)
Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-17
Rocket: Delta II 7326
Stereo A & B
Launch date: 26 October 2006,00:52 UTC
Mission type:Stereoscopic Solar Observation
Launch mass: 619 kg (1 364 lb)
Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-17B
Rocket: Delta II 7925-10L
Launch date: 22 September 2006
Mission type: Exploring Sun’s Magnetic Fields
Launch mass: 700 kg
Launch site:Uchinoura Space Center
Rocket: M-V-7 Rocket
Launch date: 11 February 2010, 15:23:00 UTC
Mission type: Sun’s Observatory
Launch mass: 3 100 kg (6 800 lb)
Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-41
Rocket: Atlas V 401
Parker Solar Probe
Launch date: 12 August 2018, 07:31 UTC
Mission type: Solar Probe
Launch mass: 685 kg (1 510 lb)
Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-37
Rocket: Delta IV Heavy
Launch date: TBA
Mission type: Solar Physics
Launch mass: 1 500 kg (3 300 lb)
Launch site: Satish Dhawan Space Centre
Rocket: PSLV-XL


Key dates in our history about Sun
Astronomical calendars 3 000 – 2 000 BCE
Stonehenge – to this day it is still unclear to what reason this monument was built, but its alignment with midsummer and midwinter points to use as a calendar.
Gods   1 350 BCE
Worshipping Sun – Christmas have history ties with Egypt. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and later Romans seen Sun as a god. Apollo was Romans interpretation of Sun, and his death and rebirth was celebrated in midsummer. After Rome conversion to Christianity this become Christmas.
Sunspots   364 BCE
Earliest records of sunspots – Shi Shen Chinese astronomer makes earliest records of this phenomenon. He believed this was due a eclipse, today we know it as cooler regions in photosphere.
Sun’s corona   968
Solar eclipse – Leo Diaconus historian from Byzantine gives first reliable description of corona. Solar eclipse seen from Constantinople (Istanbul), described as “dim and feeble glow like a narrow band shining in a circle around the edge of the disc”.
Copernicus’s revolution   1543
Heliocentric modelCopernicus’s On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres is a print that places Sun in the centre of the Solar System, this places Ptolemy’s model where Earth was centre of the Solar System to history.
Christoph Scheiner’s drawing of sunspots   1609

View of sunspots – telescope invention leads to clear first observations with telescope to sunspots by Galileo and Christoph Scheiner, and other astronomers.

Absorption lines   1802
Discovery of absorption lines – William Wollaston, English chemist discovered lines in Sun’s spectrum. Later found that they are fingerprints of chemical composition, that can be used on celestial bodies.
Sunspot cycle   1843
After Vulcan – search of this planet lead to now known solar cycle. German astronomer Heinrich Schwabe spend 17 years in attempts to find this planet. But what he found was equally important, he noted that sunspots numbers rise and fall over a decade or so, allowing to define Solar Cycle.
First photograph of the Sun   1845
New technology – French astronomer Louis Fizeau and Lion Foucault used daguerreotype technique to capture first photograph of the sun, which included clear sunspots.
Solar storm recorded   1859
Coronal Mass Ejection – Richard Carrington, English astronomer observed first solar flare. it was followed by biggest Earth-bound CME ever recorded. The storm hit Earth within days, causing aurorae as far as Hawaii and Caribbean.
Discovery of Helium   1868
Hew element – J. Norman Lockyer , English astronomer discovered unknown element in Sun’s spectrum. He named it after Greek Sun god, Helios. It was not discovered on Earth until 1895.
Butterfly diagram 1904
Sunspots plotted – Edward Maunder, English astronomer plots sunspot locations during solar cycle, this creates his famous “butterfly diagram”. This diagram shows that sunspots increase in numbers they move towards solar equator and solar cycle approaches its peak.
Theory of relativity   1919
Sun’s influence – Arthur Eddington, British physicist photographs Sun from Principe in west Africa. His shot proves Albert Einstein’s Theory of relativity by capturing apparent position change during solar eclipse, showing that Sun bends light.
Nuclear fusion in Sun’s core   1920
What drives Sun – Arthur Eddington correctly proposes that nuclear fusion is the cause of Sun’s “engine” in the core. In 1926 he published detailed account of his idea.
Solar wind   1951
Repulsing force – Ludwig F. Biermann, German astronomer during comet observations noticed that comet’s tail was always pointing away from the Sun. This effect was there no matter which way the comet was travelling, and concluded that something must be blowing in that direction.
SOHO mission   1995
Sun-grazing comets – NASA and ESA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) provides spectacular images and scientific analysis of the Sun. 2 000 comets discovered by 2012.
Solar Dynamic Observatory   2010
SDO image of Sun – high-definition technology used to observe the Sun is taking photographs in multiple wavelengths every 10 seconds.
Voyager 1   2012
Leaving heliosphere – this is first man-made objects to leave Sun’s heliosphere, the region where Solar wind is flowing.
This table was added to this post on 06.11.2018


NASA\'s SDO Stunning Solar Flares

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