This image of the sun taken on October 24, 2014, shows a significant solar flare that erupted from a large active region.
The sun, explained
Learn more about the life-giving star at the center of our solar system.
Compared with the billions of other stars in the universe, the sun is unremarkable. But for Earth and the other planets that revolve around it, the sun is a powerful center of attention. It holds the solar system together; provides life-giving light, heat, and energy to Earth; and generates space weather.
The sun resides some 26,000 light-years from the Milky Way's center, in a tendril of our home galaxy known as the Orion Arm. Every 230 million years, the sun—and the solar system it carries with it—makes one orbit around the Milky Way's center. Though we can't feel it, the sun traces its orbit at an average velocity of 450,000 miles an hour.
The sun formed more than 4.5