The Sun is typical of millions of stars in our galaxy, but it is the only one close enough to been seen in any detail.
At Culgoora, 650 kilometres north-west of Sydney, CSIRO scientists are studying the Sun and its atmosphere, using both radio and optical instruments.
The main optical instrument is a 30 centimetre high-resolution telescope which is used to study the physical processes in the Sun’s atmosphere.
Also at Culgoora is the radio-heliograph, a unique instrument consisting of a ring of 96 aerials, each 13.5 metres across, spaced around a circle 3 kilometres in diameter. It produces images of the Sun at four different frequencies and provides much information about activity in the corona – the Sun’s vast outer atmosphere.
The Sun affects our earthly environment in many ways. It is a giant thermo-nuclear furnace, a unique laboratory in space, in which physicists can study the interaction of hot ionized gases and strong magnetic fields.
Video transcript available on our website: http://www.csiro.au/news/transcripts/YouTubeTranscripts/Archives/The_Sun_our_nearest_star.htm