http://www.nasa.gov/http://science.nasa.gov/http://www.msfc.nasa.gov/http://science.nasa.gov/ssl/pad/solar/default.htm/ Solar Physics header image
Skip Navigation Links

THE SUN 

Why We Study the Sun 
The Big Questions 
Magnetism - The Key 

SOLAR STRUCTURE 

The Interior 
The Photosphere 
The Chromosphere 
The Transition Region 
The Corona 
The Solar Wind 
The Heliosphere 

SOLAR FEATURES 

Photospheric Features 
Chromospheric Features 
Coronal Features 
Solar Wind Features 

THE SUN IN ACTION 

The Sunspot Cycle 
Solar Flares 
Post Flare Loops 
Coronal Mass Ejections 
Surface and Interior Flows 
Helioseismology 

The MSFC Solar Group 

The People
Their Papers 

RESEARCH AREAS 

Flare Mechanisms 
3D Magnetic Fields 
The Solar Dynamo 
Sunspot Cycle Predictions 
Coronal Heating 
Solar Wind Dynamics 

PREVIOUS PROJECTS 

Orbiting Solar Observatories 
Skylab 
Solar Maximum Mission 
SpaceLab 2
MSSTA 
The GOES SXI Instruments 
Yohkoh

CURRENT PROJECTS 

MSFC Tower Magnetograph 
MSFC Dome Magnetograph 
The RHESSI Mission 
The Ulysses Mission 
The GONG Project 
The SOHO Mission 
The TRACE Mission 
The Sun in Time (EPO) 

FUTURE PROJECTS 

The Solar B Mission 
The STEREO Mission  
The SDO Mission  
Solar Probe  
Interstellar Probe  

The Solar Physics Group at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center was formed in the early 1970's in conjunction with the Apollo Skylab Mission. These pages contain an overview of solar physics itself along with highlights of our own work, our current projects, and possible future missions.


Sun Facts

Solar radius = 695,990 km = 432,470 mi = 109 Earth radii

Solar mass = 1.989 1030 kg = 4.376 1030 lb = 333,000 Earth masses

Solar luminosity (energy output of the Sun) = 3.846 1033 erg/s

Surface temperature = 5770 K = 10,400 ºF

Surface density = 2.07 10-7 g/cm3 = 1.6 10-4 Air density

Surface composition = 70% H, 28% He, 2% (C, N, O, ...) by mass

Central temperature = 15,600,000 K = 28,000,000 ºF

Central density = 150 g/cm3 = 8 × Gold density

Central composition = 35% H, 63% He, 2% (C, N, O, ...) by mass

Solar age = 4.57 109 yr

 


New/Updated Pages

MSFC Vector Magnetograph Data - Updated "Daily"

The Sunspot Cycle - Updated 2005/07/06

Sunspot Cycle Predictions - Updated 2005/07/06

The Greenwich Sunspot Database - Updated 2005/07/06

Papers -  Updated 2005/04/25 (Hathaway, Williams, and Cuntz  2005)

Papers -  Updated 2004/09/10 (Hathaway and Wilson 2004)

Papers -  Updated 2004/03/22 (Lee, Newman and Gary 2004)

Papers -  Updated 2004/03/02 (Hathaway et al. 2004)

Papers -  Updated 2003/12/02 (Gary and Moore 2004)

Papers -  Updated 2003/11/18 (Falconer, Moore and Gary 2003)

Papers -  Updated 2003/05/09 (Falconer et al. 2003)

Papers -  Updated 2003/05/09 (Hathaway et al. 2003)

The Beyond Solar-B Workshop - Updated 2001/08/22


Recent Solar Physics News Stories

2005/01/27 Sickening Solar Flares
2004/10/18 Solar Cycle Update
2003/11/12 The Sun Goes Haywire
2003/10/23 Solar Superstorm
2003/09/12 Solar Flares on Steroids
2003/05/30 Solar Eclipse
2003/04/22 A Star with two North Poles
2003/01/17 The Inconstant Sun
2003/01/08 Solar Spitwads
2002/12/02 Space Station Eclipse
2002/10/24 Rings around the Sun
2002/09/23 Aurora Season Begins
2002/07/02 The Distant Sun
2002/06/03 Weird Sunset
2002/02/06 The Biggest Explosions in the Solar System
2002/01/18 The Resurgent Sun
2001/11/07 What Lies Beneath a Sunspot
2001/04/27 The Transparent Sun
2001/02/15 The Sun Does a Flip
2001/01/08 A Total Eclipse of the Sun -- on the Moon!
2000/12/22 Watching the Angry Sun
2000/12/15 Christmas Eclipse
2000/11/22 Solar Flare Stuns Stardust
2000/10/12 Sun Sample Return Mission Nears Launch
2000/09/13 A Surprising CME
2000/09/05 Sunbathing at Solar Max
2000/08/28 Comet Champion of the Solar System
2000/08/14 The Extraordinary Geomagnetic Perseid Meteor Shower
2000/07/14 Space Radiation Storm
2000/05/30 Solar S'Mores
2000/05/09 Solar Ups and Downs
2000/04/25 Brushfires in the Sky
2000/04/07 Geomagnetic Storm
2000/04/05 Sunspot Numerology
2000/04/03 Sun's Got the Beat
2000/03/22 Solar Cycle Update
2000/03/09 SOHO Sees Right Through the Sun
2000/02/11 Kamikaze Comets
2000/02/07 Small Sunspot, Big Flare
2000/02/04 Solar Cycle Update
2000/02/03 Solar Smoke Rings
2000/01/20 Solar Cinema
1999/12/13 The Day the Solar Wind Disappeared
1999/06/23 SOHO spies the far side of the Sun

Web Links

SpaceWeather.com - Space Weather Homepage Updated Daily


Author: Dr. David H. Hathaway, david.hathaway@nasa.gov, (256) 961-7610
Mail Code SD50, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812

 

Responsible Official: Dr. John M. Davis, john.m.davis@nasa.gov, (256) 961-7600
Mail Code SD50, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812

 

Curator
Last revised 2005 July 06 - D. H. Hathaway