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Solar system
The Sun

About 4.5 billion years


Our solar system is in the Milky Way galaxy, on the edge of a spiral arm called Orion's Arm, and is one-half to two-thirds of the way (28,000 light-years) from the center of the galaxy.

Average distance from Earth

1 astronomical unit (AU), which equals 149,600,000 km (92,960,000 miles)


1,390,000 kilometers (863,700 miles)


1.99 x 1030 kg

Distinguishing features

The Sun, an ordinary star, contains more than 99.8% of the total mass of our solar system.

Solar flares on our Sun's surface (image courtesy of NASA)

Enlarge Image


"Fast Facts: The Sun" is a table that lists the Sun's age, location, average distance from Earth, diameter, mass, and distinguishing features. A picture of the Sun is included.

Printer-friendly web page
Adaptable, at teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A large-number recognition and ordering activity. Have students review several solar system Fast Fact tables, including this one. Have students read the tables and arrange the Sun, Moon, and planets from smallest to largest in mass and/or diameter.

A math activity. Use Newton's law of gravitation, the masses, and distances between the Sun and a planet to determine the gravitational force between them. (Recommended for grades 10-12)

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.

Related materials

Amazing Space resources by topic: Solar system