ENG 121: English Composition I
March 5, 2012
The Sun and Moon
The sun and the moon have both been dated at 46 billion years old. Other than defining time in human experience, the sun and moon have very little in common. Their differences range from physical attributes to functions. Since the beginning of civilization, both bodies have inspired a fascination in humans.
Even though the sun and moon appear to play similar roles, they are entirely different. The sun is actually a star, whereas the moon is a celestial body. At 92,960,000 miles from Earth, the sun is the nearest star and the brightest object in our sky. Similarly, the moon is the closest celestial body to Earth, but is much closer at a distance of only 225,745 miles.
Although the sun is much larger than the moon, the distance causes them to appear comparable in size. The equatorial diameter of the sun has been calculated at 865,000 miles, while the moon comes in at a less impressive 2,160 miles. The surface area is also proportionately different. The sun spans an enormous 2,347,017,636,988 square miles, with the moon measuring in at 14,658,000 square miles. Consequently, the weight of the sun has been estimated at 4,385,214,857,119,400,000,000,000,000,000 pounds, making the moon’s 81 trillion tons seem light-weight.
When considering energy, temperature, and composition, the two bodies could not be more different. The sun is composed of 92.1% hydrogen and 7.8% helium. Its energy is produced by a continuous nuclear process, and reaches temperatures of 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit in the outer photosphere. The moon, on the other hand, is made up of layers, much like Earth’s. The lunar core contains metallic iron with traces of sulfur and nickel. The mantle is largely composed of the minerals olivine, orthopyroxene, and clinopyroxene. The crust contains oxygen, silicon, magnesium, iron, calcium, and aluminum. Elements such as...