Descriptive Astronomy 101
The Sun Study Guide


After the "The Sun" lecture and readings you should be able to answer and discuss the following questions.

What are atoms?

What is the significance of the Periodic Table of Elements?

What are the three main subatomic particles, and what are their charges?

In which areas of the atom are these particles found?

What is the Atomic Number?

What is the Atomic Symbol?

What is the Atomic Mass?

What is the Atomic Mass Number?

What is an isotope?

List and describe the general characteristics of the major layers of the Sun.

What powers the Sun?

Describe the process of nuclear fission.

Describe the process of nuclear fusion.

Describe the general process of hydrogen fusion.

List and describe the 3 steps of the Proton-Proton Chain fusion process.

In the Proton-Proton Chain fusion process mass disappears in the process. What happens to this missing mass?

Outline the process by which changes in temperature and pressure regulate the fusion process in the Sun.

Changes in pressure in the solar core result in what features being produced?

What does this do to the Sun?

Why are these features important?

Outline the process by which energy, which is released in the core, migrates to the surface of the Sun.

What are solar granulations and how are they produced?

What are sunspots and how are they produced?

Describe the difference between solar prominences and solar flares.

How long is the sunspot cycle from one solar minimum to the next solar minimum?

In the beginning of a solar cycle, where on the Sun's surface do sunspots first appear?

By the end of a solar cycle, where on the Sun's surface do sunspots appear?

What is a magnetic reversal?

When does a magnetic reversal occur in the Sun?

How long is the magnetic reversal cycle?

How rapidly does the Sun rotate at the equator?

How rapidly does the Sun rotate at the poles?

Why doesn't all of the Sun's surface rotate at the same rate?

What affect does this differential rotation have on the Sun's magnetic field?