National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Facebook Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr iTunes
Follow Us
Nominee, 2011 Webby Awards.
Year of the Solar System: New Worlds, New Discoveries
   Overview   Read More   Gallery   Facts & Figures   Education 
Color image of the sun.
Plasma erupts from the sun in the shape of a massive handle.

The sun is a star, a hot ball of glowing gases at the heart of our solar system. Its influence extends far beyond the orbits of distant Neptune and Pluto. Without the sun's intense energy and heat, there would be no life on Earth. And though it is special to us, there are billions of stars like our sun scattered across the Milky Way galaxy.

Featured Mission: Solar Dynamics Observatory
SDO will study the sun's influence by observing the solar atmosphere simultaneously in several wavelengths. The orbiting observatory will help determine if it is possible to make reliable space weather forecasts.

Editor's Note: This section provides a brief overview of the sun. For a comprehensive look at the sun and the effects of its extended atmosphere on the Earth, visit NASA's Heliophysics Science Division.

Read More About the Sun Blue arrow

Just the Facts
Distance from Earth:  149,597,900 km
Mean Radius:  695,508 km
Volume:  1,409,272,569,059,860,000 km3
Mass:  1,989,100,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000 kg
People Spotlight
Phillip Chamberlin Phillip Chamberlin
"Although the space business is hard work, the rewards are more than worth it. You will discover things that no one has ever thought of before." Read More...
Nancy Roman - Astronomer
Sten Odenwald - Research Astronomer
Emily CoBabe-Ammann - Education Lead, Juno Mission
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Samantha Harvey
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 17 Mar 2011