The sun is the greatest source of energy to the earth, one of the main reasons behind the earth being habitable is because of it’s position in the solar system, situated in the so called Goldilocks zone, the earth received the perfect amount of sunlight, neither too much, not too little to little for life to thrive in the little planet.
The sun has three parts in general; the core, the radiative zone surrounding the core and the convective zone. The core is the smallest part of the sun, it makes upto about 25 percent of it, the radiative zone makes up of about 45 Percent and the rest 30 percent is covered by the convective zone.
But exactly how is the energy produced in the sun? Technically it’s through the process of nuclear fusion. The sun is a source of massive fusion reaction. There’s always fusion reaction going on at the centre of the sun, i.e the core . Due to the intense temperature and pressure at the core, the hydrogen atoms are converted to Helium atoms.
The nuclear fusion reaction that occurs at the sun’s core radiates a very high amount of energy in the form of light and heat, but it takes a number of processes for sunlight to enter the earth, or other planets. These steps generally rely on different parts of the sun.
The end result of such fusion reactions are four hydrogen atoms tunred into one alpha particle- two protons and two neutrons as a particle that’s identical to a helium nucleus, two positrons and released in the process along with two neutrinos which changes the two protons into neutrons and a large amount of energy. It is said that the cores interior is 250 billion atmospheres (25.33 trillion KPa) and 15.7 million kelvin, respectively.
The outward pressure created by the sun’s core is balanced by the inward pressure created by the gravitational force and the force of the gases that surround it. There’s a possibility that starts may collapse or explode if the reaction going on at the centre is too much or too few. But luckily the reactions at the sun and the reactions around it are greatly balanced keeping no chance of collapses. Of all the energy the sun produces, only two billionth of it reaches the earth.
Although it sounds pretty minimal, we’re only able to harness a very small percentage of the energy we receive. Of the energy received, one third goes away through clouds and other gases, while 40% warms the earth and 25% runs the water cycle, the winds and ocean uses another 1% and 0.023% is used by the plants for photosynthesis.
In short, this is the process of production of energy by the sun, energy is later on trapped by the solar panels to convert the solar energy to chemical and electrical energy.