Sun shines on us all, including Sheriff's Office

April 26, 2012


I was watching a NOVA special on PBS the other night about the sun. It's incomprehensible to me there are people out there smart enough to determine just how something 93 million miles away works and provides us sunlight. The data scientists are collecting about the sun on a daily basis – including incredible HD photos and video – is mind boggling.

The sun is the closest star of billions to Earth and is so large it comprises 99.8 percent of the mass of the solar system. The sun is 109 times wider than Earth at 870,000 miles wide.

It takes sunlight about 8 minutes to reach us.

The core temperature of the sun is 27 million degrees.

The sun is about in the middle of its lifespan. Scientists say the sun will burn bright for about another 5 billion to 7 billion years before it totally consumes itself, which it is in the process of doing now. But way before that, the sun will “melt” the earth, essentially making it impossible for life to exist because of extreme temperatures. That won't happen for at least a few billion years.

Without sunlight there would be no Earth. Why is it that our planet is in such a perfect position – with the perfect atmospheric protections in place – that the sun does not freeze nor melt us? As far as we know, none of the other plants in our solar system can support life because they are either too close or too far from the sun. We are just right. With that in mind, it's hard to dispute the argument for intelligent design as the architect of our universe. It didn't just happen by accident.

It struck me just how really insignificant we are in the scheme of the universe.

It also made it think about the petty arguments and disagreements we have in our daily lives that really mean nothing. I place the Sussex County Sheriff's Office debate in that category. I know putting the power of the sun and the Sheriff's Office in the same frame seems like a large stretch, but it shows that humans forget the power of the universe is so great that what we do makes little difference.

The energy being spent on this issue serves to blot out the sun and turn people against one another when their efforts could be spent on something much more productive.


  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

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