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Sunlight is way older than you think - Sten Odenwald


13,291 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

It takes light a zippy 8 minutes to reach Earth from the surface of the Sun. But how long does it take that same light to travel from the Sun’s core to its surface? Oddly enough, the answer is many thousands of years. Sten Odenwald explains why by illustrating the random walk problem.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Read Sten Odenwald's article that inspired this lesson.

Have an interest in astronomy? Visit the Astronomy Cafe and click on the “Ask the Astronomer” link to find out some answers to those questions you may have been pondering. Love this kind of math when it’s combined with astronomy? Dr. Sten Odenwald, provides a selection of real world astronomy-based math problems for all levels of students to try. Go to Space Math @NASA and find some math that just might interest you, a future astronomer.

Find the structure of the Sun fascinating? Watch NASA’s and SDO’s: Three Years of Sun in Three Minutes! At this link, NASA provides a wonderful graphic of the Sun’s layers discussed in this lesson. Visit the links on the left at this site for the latest news on solar studies. Have some fun with the Sun! Sing along with the Layers of the Sun song by science teacher Mr. Parr.

Heard of solar flares, space weather, or sunspots? What are these phenomena? Why should they concern us here on Earth when the Sun is so far away? Why do we study the Sun? Solar Physics from the Marshall Space Flight Center might just have your answers! Gamma rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, x-rays, and radio waves are all part of the electromagnetic spectrum and all LIGHT waves. Sound perplexing? Click here to get “enlightened” about this topic.

The Random Walk can be quite difficult to comprehend. Need some practice and review? Click here for another quick review of photon movement in the Sun.

Become an astronomy star! Visit TED-Ed for more lessons on astronomy, space, and light energy. Just go to SEARCH and type in one of the key words listed above, look for something that interests you, and get “star” TED (then, click this last highlighted link for all the TED talks on Astronomy).

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Sten Odenwald
  • Director Eduardo Sandoval
  • Sound Designer Christopher Bullé-Goyri
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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