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Sun | Stony Brook, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Artist's Description

The Sun does not have a definite boundary, and in its outer parts its density decreases exponentially with increasing distance from its center. For the purpose of measurement, however, the Sun’s radius is considered to be the distance from its center to the edge of the photosphere, the apparent visible surface of the Sun. By this measure, the Sun is a near-perfect sphere with an oblateness estimated at about 9 millionths, which means that its polar diameter differs from its equatorial diameter by only 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). The tidal effect of the planets is weak and does not significantly affect the shape of the Sun. The Sun rotates faster at its equator than at its poles. This differential rotation is caused by convective motion due to heat transport and the Coriolis force due to the Sun’s rotation. In a frame of reference defined by the stars, the rotational period is approximately 25.6 days at the equator and 33.5 days at the poles. Viewed from Earth as it orbits the Sun, the apparent rotational period of the Sun at its equator is about 28 days. Read more

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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