Photosphere

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Photosphere

Post  meodingu on Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:34 am

Photosphere
The effective temperature, or black body temperature, of the Sun (5777 K) is the temperature a black body of the same size must have to yield the same total emissive power.
Main article: Photosphere

The visible surface of the Sun, the photosphere, is the layer below which the Sun becomes opaque to visible light.[48] Above the photosphere visible sunlight is free to propagate into space, and its energy escapes the Sun entirely. The change in opacity is due to the decreasing amount of H− ions, which absorb visible light easily.[48] Conversely, the visible light we see is produced as electrons react with hydrogen atoms to produce H− ions.[49][50] The photosphere is tens to hundreds of kilometers thick, being slightly less opaque than air on Earth. Because the upper part of the photosphere is cooler than the lower part, an image of the Sun appears brighter in the center than on the edge or limb of the solar disk, in a phenomenon known as limb darkening.[48] Sunlight has approximately a black-body spectrum that indicates its temperature is about 6,000 K, interspersed with atomic absorption lines from the tenuous layers above the photosphere. The photosphere has a particle density of ~1023 m−3 (this is about 0.37% of the particle number per volume of Earth's atmosphere at sea level; however, photosphere particles are electrons and protons, so the average particle in air is 58 times as heavy).[45]

During early studies of the optical spectrum of the photosphere, some absorption lines were found that did not correspond to any chemical elements then known on Earth. In 1868, Norman Lockyer hypothesized that these absorption lines were because of a new element which he dubbed "helium", after the Greek Sun god Helios. It was not until 25 years later that helium was isolated on Earth.[51]





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