What is the Sun?

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The Sun gives us heat and light. Have you ever wondered what the Sun is?

In this article you can find out:

  • What the Sun is
  • How the Sun's heat and light affect our daily life
  • What ultraviolet light is
  • How to measure sunshine hours

This resource is suitable for Weather topics for P2, P3, P4, P5, P6 and P7 (First and Second Level Curriculum for Excellence).

Watch this video to learn about the Sun.

What is the Sun?

  1. The Sun is a star, a bright ball made up of glowing gases.
  2. Most of the Sun is a gas called hydrogen.
  3. The Sun is huge. You could fit the Earth into the sun almost one million times.
  4. The Sun gives us heat and light, even though it's 150 million kilometres away from the Earth!
  5. The Sun also gives us ultraviolet light. This is a type of energy that you can’t see or feel but which can give you sun burn.

The power of the Sun

Find out how we can measure energy from the Sun and protect ourselves from its heat and light.

Sunshine recorder

This sunshine recorder focuses the sun's rays through the crystal ball and burns a hole onto the strip of card underneath. The number of burn marks and their length shows how much sunlight there has been during a day.

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How to measure sunshine hours

With help from BBC Weather's Kawser Quamer, let's find out:

  • Why it is important to measure sunshine hours
  • How sunshine is measured at weather stations
  • The history of the Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder

  • star - A bright ball of glowing gases including hydrogen and helium.
  • evaporation - When water turns into a gas.
  • water vapour - Water in the form of an invisible gas.
  • ultraviolet light - A type of energy, given off by the sun. Ultraviolet light can affect our skin and give us sunburn if we're not careful!
  • sunscreen - A special cream that we need to rub on ourselves to stop the sun damaging our skin.

Try this short multiple choice quiz to test your knowledge of the Sun

Write a report about the Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder.

Can you do your own research and write a clear informative report about the Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder?

Here are some tips for writing your report:

  • Before you write a report, it is important to research the subject. Make organised notes in preparation.
  • When you are ready to write your report, start with a large clear title.
  • Write a short introduction to let the reader know what you are writing about.
  • Break up your information with subheadings.
  • Using your research, write clear detailed paragraphs under each heading.
  • Include pictures to make your fact file more interesting.
  • Your report should use formal language and shouldn't include any of your opinions.

If you need some help writing a report, you can get more information here: How to write a report.