A pedestrian star like the Sun is, in actuality, a physics laboratory we could never build. The Sun is basically a thermonuclear core enclosed in an opaque shroud that insulates the high temperature ( or 1 keV) from the cold universe outside. The core is brighter than ten supernovas at maximum light, but the enclosing shroud turns back all but one part in of the thermal radiation, which is largely x rays of 10‐50 nm wavelength. We see only the miniscule that leak out. The outward journey of the energy from the core to the surface takes about a million years, illustrating again the immense opacity and thermal capacity of the shroud.
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June 01 2000
The Physics of the Sun and the Gateway to the Stars
The Sun is stranger than you think, displaying mysterious manifestations of the familiar laws of physics and posing new problems with every major advance in exploratory measurement.
Physics Today 53 (6), 26–31 (2000);
Eugene N. Parker; The Physics of the Sun and the Gateway to the Stars. Physics Today 1 June 2000; 53 (6): 26–31. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.1306364
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