Kingdom of Apollo

Essay by domenichelliCollege, UndergraduateA, July 2008

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Jeffrey Domenichelli

English 300- Josh Breese

Tuesday Thursday 6- 9

July 2, 2008

Kingdom of Apollo

For centuries, humans have attempted to explain the Sun in terms of their own worldviews. The Sun can be a god, a demon, a mischievous spirit, an omnipotent creator or a ruthless taker of life. Worship of the Sun was central to civilizations such as the Inca of South America and the Aztecs of what is now Mexico. Many ancient monuments were constructed with solar phenomena in mind. Whatever role it plays, most cultures have recognized the significance of the Sun as prime controller of all life on Earth.

The Sun is the closest star to the Earth and is the center of our solar system. Our solar system is then part of a much larger encompassing system called a galaxy. The galaxy in which our star can be found is called the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Sun lies close to the inner rim of the Milky Way Galaxy's Orion Arm, in the Local Fluff or the Gould Belt, at a hypothesized distance of 7.62±0.32 kpc from the Galactic Center (Reid 345). The Sun's orbit around the Galaxy is expected to be roughly elliptical with the addition of some disruptions due to the galactic spiral arms and non-uniform mass distributions. It is believed that the Sun's passage through the higher density spiral arms often coincides with mass extinctions on Earth, perhaps due to increased impact events.

The life cycle of the Sun is congruent with other main sequence stars in our galaxy. Main sequence stars are types of stars that fall along a certain line in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams. The diagrams plot stars based on the color that they give off and the brightness in which they are seen. The...