As fall begins and we soak up the last of summer’s sunshine, let’s take a moment to think about all the good the Sun does for us. It gives us light, heat, and energy. Without that energy, “life on Earth wouldn’t exist” NASA points out. Our planet’s temperature would be so cold that the ground would be frozen and no life would be able to survive.
The sun also helps our bodies produce vitamin D. Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorus within the body and helps maintain proper bone structure, according to WebMD. 80-90% of the vitamin D we absorb comes from the sun, because it’s a reliable, easy resource. The body stores vitamin D in fat cells. “Just 6 days of casual sunlight exposure without sunscreen can make up for 49 days of no sunlight exposure,” WebMD explains.
Helpful as the sun is to us, it’s even more helpful to the whole planet. From plants and animals to survival strategies and evolution, the Sun shapes the course of life on Earth. This infographic from Solar Centre offers a beautiful visual summary:
You can click on the Solar Centre link above to see a high-resolution version of the graphic. If you want more information about how the sun does all these things, check out Bill Nye’s explanation below.