Density of the Sun

What is the average density of the Sun? Don't reach for Google or a handy book on astronomy, try to see if you can calculate it yourself. To make it slightly more interesting, you are not allowed to know the physical size of the Sun or even how far away from the Earth it is.

If you are thinking that you need a PhD to do something like that you would be wrong. The relevant maths is covered at G.C.S.E. level and the physics is taught at A-Level (hint). All that is required is knowledge of the constants pi and G - which can be measured on the lab bench - and some lateral thinking.

Perhaps I am a bit geeky, but I think it is quite cool to be able to work out the average density of the Sun, from the surface of the Earth, without any fancy equipment. Once you have worked it out, an interesting thing to do is compare the average density of the Sun to that of water (1000 kg/m³). Answers on a virtual postcard.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Thursday 02nd Dec 2004 (13:38 UTC) | Permalink
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