Friday, March 10, 2017

Consider the Sun

As we approach Daylight Savings Time (CDT) this weekend, I am so thankful to welcome more sun back into my life. I often joke that my bald head must be a solar panel, because I run out of energy quickly if I spend too much time in cloudy, dark, or rainey gloom.

I love the Sun… and I am also mesmerized by it.

The Psalmist captures some of my meditation here…..

When I consider your heavens,    the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars,    which you have set in place,4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,    human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8:3-4)

The Sun also produces the phenomenon of light, equally mind boggling, having properties as a particle and a wave.

Here are some amazing Sun facts…..

  • The Sun accounts for 99.86% of the mass in the solar system. It has a mass of around 330,000 times that of Earth. It is three quarters hydrogen and most of its remaining mass is helium.
  • Over one million Earth’s could fit inside the Sun. If you were to fill a hollow Sun with spherical Earths, somewhere around 960,000 would fit inside. However, if you squashed those Earths to ensure there was no wasted space then you could fit 1,300,000 Earths inside the Sun. The surface area of the Sun is 11,990 times that of Earth.
  • The energy created by the Sun’s core is nuclear fusion. This huge amount of energy is produced when four hydrogen nuclei are combined into one helium nucleus.
  • The Sun is almost a perfect sphere. Considering the sheer size of the Sun, there is only a 10 km difference in its polar and equatorial diameters – this makes it the closest thing to a perfect sphere observed in nature.
  • The Sun is travelling at 220 km per second. It is around 24,000-26,000 light-years from the galactic centre and it takes the Sun approximately 225-250 million years to complete one orbit of the centre of the Milky Way.
  • It takes eight minutes for light reach Earth from the Sun. The average distance from the Sun to the Earth is about 150 million km. Light travels at 300,000 km per second so dividing one by the other gives you 500 seconds – eight minutes and twenty seconds. This energy can reach Earth in mere minutes, but it takes millions of years to travel from the Sun’s core to its surface.
  • The distance between Earth and Sun changes. This is because the Earth travels on a elliptical orbit path around the Sun. The distance between the two ranges from 147 to 152 million km. This distance between them is one Astronomical Unit (AU).
  • The Sun rotates in the opposite direction to Earth with the Sun rotating from west to east instead of east to west like Earth.
  • The Sun rotates more quickly at its equator than it does close to its poles. This is known as differential rotation.
  • The Sun has a powerful magnetic field. When magnetic energy is released by the Sun during magnetic storms, solar flares occur which we see on Earth as sunspots. Sunspots are dark areas on the Sun’s surface caused by magnetic variations. The reason they appear dark is due to their temperature being much lower than surrounding areas.
  • Temperatures inside the Sun can reach 15 million degrees Celsius. Energy is generated through nuclear fusion in the Sun’s core – this is when hydrogen converts to helium – and because objects generally expand, the Sun would explode like an enormous bomb if it wasn’t for it’s tremendous gravitational pull.
  • The Sun generates solar winds. These are ejections of plasma (extremely hot charged particles) that originate in the layer of the Sun know as the corona and they can travel through the solar system at up to 450 km per second.
  • The atmosphere of the Sun is composed of three layers: the photosphere, the chromosphere, and the corona.
  • The Sun is classified as a yellow dwarf star. It is a main sequence star with surface temperatures between 5,000 and 5,700 degrees celsius (9,000 and 10,300 degrees fahrenheit).
  • The Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis are caused by the interaction of solar winds with Earth’s atmosphere.

So, let’s ponder this for a little bit…..

The naturalist/materialist would say this stuff is just here…… no plan, no purpose, no creator……

Hmmmmm- talk about faith!

My world view says the opposite - A great Designer has the intellect and power to create a grand design.

There is a plan and purpose for the Sun… but eventually the grand-narrative is that it proclaims the majesty of God.

There are scientific facts about the sun, but those facts say very little about the inspiration of the sun as it sets or as it rises. It has such innate glory that men have actually worshipped the sun as SOL but the Scriptures warn us and direct us to not stop at the Sun… see the larger One.. the actual SON Himself.

The Preeminence of Christ
He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. [17] And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. [19] For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Col. 1:15-20 ESV)

So, when I am enjoying more daylight to do the things I love to do… I need to stop and gaze at the glorious sunset.. And consider the Sun and then consider the Son.

Warmth and life are great gifts from a very good God indeed.

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