What is the sun made of?


Oct 22, 2019
Interesting report and table presentation. The article says, "Why don't we know how long it takes for a photon to travel outward from the center of the sun? For one thing, scientists can't see into the core to track a photon from its birth. Instead, they must rely on models that follow the infamous "drunkard's walk" problem." According to this scenario, the distance a drunken person travels while making random left and right turns is their typical step size times the square root of the number of steps taken. For a randomly traveling photon in the solar center, this depends on what is used for the mean free path (or average distance travel) of radiation. These numbers range from 4,000 years to millions of years, though most solar scientists tend to rely on 170,000 years, according to the book Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour.
"Photons go on a random walk within the sun," space scientist Lucie Green, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Space.com. "I would say 170,000 years for photon to escape." "Most astronomers are not too interested in this number and forgo trying to pin it down exactly because it does not impact any phenomena we measure with the exception of the properties of the core region right now," Odenwald said."

Apparently models provide answers ranging from 4,000 years, 170,000 years, and millions of years. Consider telescopes in use for a bit more than 400 years now. Astronomers cannot watch a photon created in the core, work its way to the surface and travel to Earth using synchronized clocks to measure this time (from creation in the core to surface of the sun and emitted to Earth). In my view, this is theory only, not confirmed by observation like the Galilean moons at Jupiter are confirmed.
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Jun 1, 2020
The RW (random walk) time likely must be much greater than18k years. This is the time calculated in a very simplified model where the density was held as a constant. The 170k estimate seems at least reasonable.

The initial photons are gamma rays. Thus as they travel and interact, they will each multiply in number where the sum of their energies will equal the original gamma ray energy.

Another interesting fact is that over 25,000 distinct spectral lines have been observed in the solar spectrum. Some of these are not from elements but from molecules such as TiO, though solar high temperatures only allow a few molecules.

Since photon scattering is observable and accurately modeled with positive test results, the math could have great credibility. But to your point, an accurate math model would need lots of scattering observations at simulated solar conditions from the core outward. The dynamic action of the connective zone adds complications, as well.

So, IMO, the RW will not ever be very accurate because the effort would be “too much squeeze for the juice.”

Thus the RW will just be another not-too-serious guesstimate. This seems to have been the same attitude held for the Sun’s color, with the exception that the objective evidence required for an accurate color comes with much juice for little squeeze. :)


Apr 1, 2020
- They Might Be Giants

The sun is mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees
Yo ho it's hot, the sun is not a place where we could live
But here on earth there'd be no life without the light it gives
We need its light, we need its heat, we need its energy
Without the sun, without a doubt, there'd be no you and me
The sun is mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees
The sun is hot
It is so hot that everything on it is a gas
Iron, copper, aluminum and many others
The sun is large
If the sun were hollow, a million earths could fit inside
And yet the sun is still only a middle-sized star
The sun is far away
About 93, 000, 000 miles away, and that's why it looks so small
And even when it's out of sight, the sun shines night and day
The sun gives heat, the sun gives light, the sunlight that we see
The sunlight comes from our own sun's atomic energy
Scientists have found that the sun is a huge atom-smashing machine
The heat and light of the sun come from the nuclear reactions
Of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and helium
The sun is mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees
-Wolf sends
Jun 1, 2020
That's an interesting poem. Kinda nice and informative, yet sometimes contradictory, such as describing two different nuclear reactions in the core, but not suggesting two take place.

If it mentioned the Sun's color correctly, it would deserve greater praise. ;)