The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is a perfect sphere of hot plasma, with internal convective motion that generates a magnetic field via a dynamo process. It is by far the most important source of energy for life on Earth. Its diameter is about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth, accounting for about 99. 86% of the total mass of the Solar System. About three quarters of the Suns mass consists of hydrogen, the rest is mostly helium, with smaller quantities of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon. The Sun is a G-type main-sequence star based on its spectral class and it formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of matter within a region of a large molecular cloud. Most of this matter gathered in the center, whereas the rest flattened into a disk that became the Solar System. The central mass became so hot and dense that it eventually initiated nuclear fusion in its core and it is thought that almost all stars form by this process. The Sun is roughly middle-aged, it has not changed dramatically for more than four billion years and it is calculated that the Sun will become sufficiently large enough to engulf the current orbits of Mercury, Venus, and probably Earth. The enormous effect of the Sun on Earth has been recognized since prehistoric times, the synodic rotation of Earth and its orbit around the Sun are the basis of the solar calendar, which is the predominant calendar in use today. The English proper name Sun developed from Old English sunne and may be related to south, all Germanic terms for the Sun stem from Proto-Germanic *sunnōn. The English weekday name Sunday stems from Old English and is ultimately a result of a Germanic interpretation of Latin dies solis, the Latin name for the Sun, Sol, is not common in general English language use, the adjectival form is the related word solar. The term sol is used by planetary astronomers to refer to the duration of a solar day on another planet. A mean Earth solar day is approximately 24 hours, whereas a mean Martian sol is 24 hours,39 minutes, and 35.244 seconds. From at least the 4th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the Sun was worshipped as the god Ra, portrayed as a falcon-headed divinity surmounted by the solar disk, and surrounded by a serpent. In the New Empire period, the Sun became identified with the dung beetle, in the form of the Sun disc Aten, the Sun had a brief resurgence during the Amarna Period when it again became the preeminent, if not only, divinity for the Pharaoh Akhenaton. The Sun is viewed as a goddess in Germanic paganism, Sól/Sunna, in ancient Roman culture, Sunday was the day of the Sun god. It was adopted as the Sabbath day by Christians who did not have a Jewish background, the symbol of light was a pagan device adopted by Christians, and perhaps the most important one that did not come from Jewish traditions
During a total solar eclipse, the solar corona can be seen with the naked eye, during the brief period of totality.
Taken by Hinode's Solar Optical Telescope on 12 January 2007, this image of the Sun reveals the filamentary nature of the plasma connecting regions of different magnetic polarity.
Visible light photograph of sunspot, 13 December 2006
In this false-color ultraviolet image, the Sun shows a C3-class solar flare (white area on upper left), a solar tsunami (wave-like structure, upper right) and multiple filaments of plasma following a magnetic field, rising from the stellar surface.