The love affair between the Earth’s inhabitants and the Sun has a long history. From the beginning, man was aware of the importance of the Sun to his life. Knowledge of the actual workings of the Sun took a long time to compile and there is still a great deal to learn. For our purposes, let us look at the Sun as it relates to getting a suntan and how to avoid sunburn.
The Sun is the center of our galaxy both literally and figuratively. This giver of life is approximately 93 million miles away, sending its energy to the Earth in about 8 minutes. This energy is a combination of both light and UV rays. Known as a yellow dwarf star in the astronomy world, it is busy converting hydrogen to helium at its core by way of nuclear fusion. The result of this action is energy.
Some facts about UV rays and what may determine their impact on us:
The light or energy arrives in the form of UV (ultraviolet) rays which are primarily the cause of the skin changes that create a suntan or sunburn (if you are not careful). There are three types of UV rays each one acting differently: A, B and C. UVC is the most harmful and the ozone layer completely filters this out before it reaches the surface. UVB is not as harmful but is believed to be the primary culprit when it comes to sunburn. If you are out in the sun too long the damage can lead to genetic deformities which may lead to skin cancer. UVA is the least harmful though this does not eliminate it from doing the same type of damage to a lesser degree.
- The movement of the Sun and Earth in relation to one another, other planets and matter, as well as their movement within the Milky Way Galaxy.
- The thickness of the ozone layer is not a consistent depth all over the world.
These factors contribute to changing seasons and weather thus controlling how much ‘sun’ (UV rays) we are exposed to in our daily lives. Through many products and research we have come a long way in being able to enjoy time outdoors in the sun and avoid the painful consequences.