Being Talks with Young People about the Wonders of the Heavens
By Robert Stawell Ball
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2010
Online Publication Date:June 2011
Original Publication Year:1889
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511709463.002
Subjects: Practical and amateur astronomy , Astronomy: general interest
THE HEAT AND BRIGHTNESS OF THE SUN
We can all feel that the sun is very hot, and we know that it is very big and a long way off. Let us first talk about the heat from the sun. On a cold day it is pleasant to go into a room with a good fire, and everybody knows that the nearer we go to the fire, the more strongly we feel the heat. The boy who is at the far end of the room may be shivering with cold, while those close to the fire are as hot as they find to be pleasant. If we could draw nearer to the sun than we are at present, we should find ourselves to be warmer than we are here. Indeed, if we went close enough, the temperature would rise so much that we could not endure it; we should be roasted. On the other hand, we should certainly be frozen to death if we were transported much further away from the sun than we are now. We are able to live comfortably, because our bodies are just arranged to suit the warmth at that distance from the sun at which the earth is actually placed.
Suppose you were able to endure any degree of heat, and that you had some way of setting out on a voyage to the sun.