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Describe the sun's mass in regards to all other objects orbiting in our solar system.

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amirahjasmin | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted September 30, 2012 at 9:00 AM via web

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Describe the sun's mass in regards to all other objects orbiting in our solar system.

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:13 PM (Answer #1)

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The Sun is the star at the center of our Solar System (often abbreviated to "Sol" to differentiate with the millions of other Solar Systems in the universe). Its mass and gravitational effects keep all the planets and other various objects in the Solar System moving in a more-or-less stable orbital structure. The Sun is the largest and most massive object in the Solar System, and so forms the largest part of the Solar System's own mass. To measure the Sun's mass, astronomers use a standard Solar Mass measurement based on the Sun itself; since it is the closest star, it is the easiest mass on which to base a standard. The Sun's mass is about 1.9891 × 10^30 kilograms, or almost 333,000 times the mass of the Earth.

In addition, using this measurement and what is known about the elemental composition of the Sun, astronomers can calculate the relative mass and size of other stars in the galaxy, showing them to be larger or smaller, brighter or dimmer, and older or younger than the Sun. This knowledge also affects measurements of how galactic and solar masses move within the universe; since every mass is attracting every other mass with a force proportionate to their shared mass product, the movement of stars and galaxies can be calculated and predicted to a degree far beyond simple observation.

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