The Sun

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Sun. The object that gives the Earth its light and heat is a massive ball of gas and plasma 93 million miles away. Thanks to the nuclear fusion reactions taking place at its core, the Sun has been shining for four and a half billion years. Its structure, and the processes that keep it burning, have fascinated astronomers for centuries. After the invention of the telescope it became apparent that the Sun is not a placid, steadily shining body but is subject to periodic changes in its appearance and eruptions of dramatic violence, some of which can affect us here on Earth. Recent space missions have revealed fascinating new insights into our nearest star.


Carolin Crawford
Gresham Professor of Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Yvonne Elsworth
Poynting Professor of Physics at the University of Birmingham

Louise Harra
Professor of Solar Physics at UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Release date:

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

New Year's Day 2015 21:30

Related topics


Carolin Crawford at the University of Cambridge


Yvonne Elsworth at the University of Birmingham


Louise Harra at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL


Solar System Exploration: Sun - NASA


High-Resolution Optical Spectroscopy - University of Birmingham


Hinode Science Center - NAOJ




Sun In Time






Solar Orbiter - ESA


Sun - Wikipedia





William Chaplin, Music of the Sun: The Story of Helioseismology (Oneworld Publications, 2006)


Stuart Clark, The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began (Princeton University Press, 2009)


Leon Golub & Jay M. Pasachoff, Nearest Star: The Surprising Science of Our Sun (Cambridge University Press, 2014)


Kenneth Phillips, Guide to the Sun (Cambridge University Press, 1995)


Hinode fan

Hinode fan
Arcs of plasma rising from a sunspot on the Sun’s surface, as photographed by the Hinode space probe.


Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Interviewed GuestCarolin Crawford
Interviewed GuestYvonne Elsworth
Interviewed GuestLouise Harra
ProducerThomas Morris

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