The sun is a powerful source of energy. Even though it is very far away, its energy is important to the earth. Sunlight is the light that is produced by the sun. Sunlight is a source of energy in all ecosystems. The amount of sunlight depends on the time of the day and cloud cover.
The Sun is A Powerful Source of Sunlight
Source of Sunlight
Sunlight is the light that comes from the sun. Sunshine is a combination of bright light and heat in the form of waves. This is also called solar radiation. It takes 8.3 minutes to reach earth from the surface of the sun. Sunlight is filtered and broken up by the earth's atmosphere. 16% of the solar radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere, 6% is broken down in space, 28% is reflected by the clouds, and about only 47% of the total solar radiation reaches the earth's surface.
The Sunlight is Filtered Through the Earth's Atmosphere.
Sunlight is Made of Three Major Portions:
Types of Sunlight
Sunlight in the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
Sunlight is Broken Into Three Components:
Visible Light - with wavelengths (distance between two points of two continuous waves) between 0.4 and 0.8 micrometres, constitutes nearly half of the total radiation received at the surface of the earth.
Ultraviolet Light - with wavelengths shorter than 0.8 mm, constitutes only a small proportion of the total radiation but is very important. It produces Vitamin D.
Infrared Radiation - with wavelengths longer than 0.8 mm, this portion has a heat-producing quality.
Uses of Sunlight
Solar cells or photovoltaics convert sunlight directly into electricity.
Plants use sunlight to make their food. They convert sunlight into chemical energy. This process is called photosynthesis. As a result of the sunlight that they absorb, plants are also filled with Vitamin D which is important for animals.
Plants Need Sunlight for Photosynthesis.
Effects of Sunlight
Insufficient sunlight affects the process of photosynthesis. If plants get very little sunlight, they will not have as much glucose or energy stored in it and will not survive for long.
Insufficient sunlight in animals can cause Vitamin D deficiency, leading to weak and brittle bones. Vitamin D is important for strong bones and a good immune system.
Too much is also harmful to the skin. The sunlight also has UV radiation which can penetrate the skin and damage the cell DNA. This can cause skin cancer. This can be prevented by using sunscreen before going into the sun.
Sunlight can be too bright, and looking directly at the sun can damage a person's vision. Sunglasses, hats, etc., can be used to prevent this.
Direct Sunlight Should Be Avoided.
1. Which portion of sunlight has a heat-producing quality?
Ans: Infrared radiation has a heat-producing quality.
2. How is insufficient sunlight harmful to plants?
Ans: Insufficient sunlight can affect the process of photosynthesis. If plants get very little sunlight, they will not have as much glucose or energy stored in it and will not survive for long.
Choose the correct answer.
1. Too much sunlight can cause skin damage.
2. Which portion of light has a wavelength less than 0.4mm?
None of the above.
Learning By Doing
Take 2 pots and add soil to them. Name them A and B. Add some gram seed to both pots. Keep pot A in the sunlight and keep pot B inside the house and cover it with a cardboard box. Water both pots every day. After a few weeks see the results. You will notice that only one pot will have grown green leaves. This is because plants need sunlight to grow. Try it!
The light of the Sun is the primary source of energy in all ecosystems. Sunlight affects the survival of all organisms on Earth. All organisms on earth depend on acquiring the right amount of sunlight for energy and nourishment. Too much sunlight or too little sunlight can affect their health in different ways.