Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

When did people discover that the Sun is a star?

Historically, when did people realize that the Sun is a star?

As this wonderful website explains, the first person to come up with the idea that stars and the Sun are the same thing, just at different distances, was Anaxagoras, in about 450 B.C. Later, Aristarchus, around 220 B.C., thought similarly. In 1600 A.D., Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for heresy, for asserting that the Sun is a star, among other things. It wasn't until the mid-1800s, after the work of Galileo, Kepler, Huygens, Newton, and finally, Friedrich Bessel, that it could be proven. The distance to other stars was calculated, and it was found that stars were about as bright as the Sun, when you account for the difference in distance. Also, chemical composition and surface temperature could be determined, and this added further evidence.

February 2004, Cathy Jordan (more by Cathy Jordan) (Like this Answer), Matija Cuk (more by Matija Cuk) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about The History of Astronomy: Previous | Next

More questions about The Sun: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

This page has been accessed 26739 times since February 17, 2004.
Last modified: February 17, 2004 5:55:01 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)