Weather in Space

The Sun

Does the Sun have an atmosphere?

Yes, in a manner of speaking. Since the Sun is made primarily out of hydrogen (73 percent) and helium (25 percent) in a plasma state, there’s no visible solid surface to distinguish a dividing line between the Sun’s body and its atmosphere. The “surface” of the Sun is a layer called the photosphere that is about 300 miles (480 kilo meters) thick and has an average temperature of about 10,000°F (5,500°C); above that is a second layer, called the chromosphere, that is thousands of miles thick, and is somewhat cooler—7,800°F (4,300°C). Above that is the Sun’s corona, which is where temperatures kick into high gear. Temperatures in the corona average about 1.8 million °F (1 million °C).


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