#177 – About the sun and astronomical rings

Hi guys,

A satellite called “Parker” will be sent to the sun this weekend, it will contain a lot of new technologies to be able to view the sun at a very close distance. There are also millions of names that will go with this satellite and it is quite amazing to know that everything was planned years ago! At the same time, I had some questions about the sun and I wanted to know more about it. The questions were quite simple, but I still can’t answer them like a scientist, so I will stick to the brief explanation.


Why and how does the sun grow?

In fact, the sun is constantly shrinking and growing depending on the chain reaction in the core of the sun. The sun is mainly composed of hydrogen which is used as a fuel to maintain the combustion of the sun. Depending on the activity of these chain explosions, the sun will grow or will shrink this is one of the explanations of the Ice Age period on Earth. With so many explosions and with the temperature, the hydrogens atoms will be decomposed to form helium which is heavier. At some point, there will be too much helium and the sun will be saturated, so to keep the temperature and to keep the combustion, the sun will grow bigger. Helium will decompose itself and recompose to carbon and oxygen. However, it will happen in millions of years. In the end, the sun will be so heavy that he will be crushed by its own mass, become colder, or explode like a Supernova. One of the futures of our sun will probably to be a black hole.

How did a sun born?

A sun born first in a place where gravity pulls together dust and gas, turning on itself and also making planets around it. The sun core becomes a protostar, a new-born star that will grow and begin to turn into the sun we actually know. The energy waves in space push the dust, gas and other materials together and the gravity of the overall finally continue the formation of the star.


I take some time to look after the different astronomical tools for fun, and I saw a beautiful one called “astronomical rings” which are quite easy to use and are quite beautiful. It is actually very simple to use it, you only need to know the date to know the hour and the north of your place. It was first created by the Ancient Greeks and later in the XII and XIII centuries by travelers but was quite inefficient because of its precision, however, this tool was portable and it was used to correct the mechanical clocks. It can’t be used in nautical astronomy because you need to hang the rings.

The astronomical rings are composed by three rings, the outside ring is called the meridional ring, it is actually composed by two rings: the fixed one which you can use to hang the tool and have a marker to point to the moving part which is marked in degrees from 0° to 90°. This ring is used to correct your latitude (for example 48,2° for Paris). The intermediate ring is called the equatorial ring which is related to the equator and is marked with hours. Finally, the declination ring is a loop parallel to the Earth’s axis, there is a pinhole inside movable part on this loop which is marked with the months.
The three-axis are settled by rotating the tool until the sunbeam goes through the pinhole and is visible on the equatorial ring, showing the exact hour of a precise day.


Thanks for the reading and see you later!

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