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Photons from the Sun

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baseball00

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Light from the sun takes approximately 8 minutes to reach us on earth; however, that does not mean that those particular photons are 8 minutes old. The suns light is produced in the center of the sun when massive amounts of energy is released. The sun has a radius of 696,000 km. The distance between the edge of the sun and the earth is 149.6 million km. From this information you would come to the conclusion that it takes less time for a photon to reach the outer surface of the sun than it would to reach the earth. The truth is that it actually takes much longer for a photon to travel from the center of the sun the the edge. This is because as a photon is released it travels through the sun with a lot of stops along the way. A photon can only travel a certain distance inside the sun without being absorbed and released by an atom. As a result, it can take up to millions of years to finally reach the surface of the sun. A cool way to think about this is that the light from the sun can potentially be produced millions of years plus 8 minutes ago.

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