99.86% of our Solar System’s mass is in the Sun
The Sun’s mass is approximately 1,988,550,000,000,000,000,000 billion kg. Which is equivalent to about 330,000 Earths. Most of the Sun’s mass is hydrogen (about 73%) and helium (roughly 25%). The rest is made up of heavier elements such as oxygen, carbon, neon and iron.
Despite it taking up 99.86% of our Solar System’s mass, it is known as a yellow dwarf. It’s around 4.6 billion years old. It formed as most other stars do by a large molecular cloud collapsing under gravity into a central mass. When gravity eventually crushed this mass enough, it reached a critical density and temperature, at which point nuclear fusion was initiated in its core. And so our Sun was born.
At the same time, other parts of the same molecular cloud collapsed to form a flat disc surrounding the central mass. This disc eventually went on to form the planets and asteroids. In other words, the other 0.14% of our Solar System.
By Graham Foster
Graham is a graphic designer with a passion for science
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