Energy from Sun
an untapped treasure
Energy from Sun
People in ancient time knew by observation that the Sun plays a major role in their life. Being as smart as we are, they could observe the days getting longer and shorter over the year, they could observe the seasons, and they intuitively knew that the sun is the source of life for plants and animals. No wonder the Sun, in many ancient religion was considered a deity.
We know today that the Sun is the major energy source here on Earth. It is the enabler to plants life (through photosynthesis) and indirectly to all animal kingdom food chain. It is also the cause of atmosphere and water flows (the climate machine) and it is what keeps Earth face in the right temperature range. Here on Earth we see the energy exchange between life forms, all dependent on the Sun as the primary energy source
It became evident in the last few hundred years, that the amount of sun energy hitting the surface of earth is unbelievably enormous (equivalent to 2 horse power every second over one square meter). Quick calculation reveals that the sun energy impinging Earth land and oceans over one day can be enough for all our consumption over one year
One conclusion: There is enough clean renewable energy to fulfill all our energy needs without resorting to burning fossils. The obstacles are vested interests, cost comparison (energy from fossils is still cheaper if we ignore the incidental cost on higher medical expenses and the cost of polluted air and water). Even if a general agreement is reached to invest vigorously in renewable energy it will be a long process (a few decades)
What powers the Sun?
Energy from Sun hitting Earth is only a small fraction of what the sun emits. The Sun is a gigantic ball of hot gases (mainly Hydrogen) spreading radiation to all directions mostly into empty space direction and only a small fraction reaches Earth and the other planets
So, how the Sun generate so much energy? The answer was discovered only after we understood nuclear physics. The Sun is a gigantic fusion reactor, fusing together Hydrogen atoms to make Helium atoms plus enormous radiation energy (An H-Bomb does that in one short big explosion). The Sun started 5 billion years ago and this process will continue for billions years to come. All this time, Sun mass (matter) is converted to radiation energy. This process will last as long as there is mass that can be converted into radiation
We better utilize this endless energy treasure – it has much to do with decisions we take as individuals and as a society
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