The sun's surface temperature (dubbed the "photosphere") is a stunning 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit! That's nearly five times hotter than the world's hottest lava. A temperature of 27 million degrees Fahrenheit is about 12,000 times hotter than the world's hottest lava! Our star is a nuclear furnace, powered by the heat of hydrogen fusion reactions that take place deep within it.
The sun's intense heat comes from its atomic composition. It is composed of over 70% hydrogen and 28% helium. These elements are in a state of high energy production called "ionization" which allows them to lose energy by radiation into outer space.
At its core lies a super-dense object called a "neutron star". The pressure inside this object is so great that it compresses the atoms into neutrons. This results in an infinite mass but with a radius only about 12 miles.
Beyond the neutron star is another stellar body called "black hole". There is no point in trying to escape because there is no way out. Gravity is strong enough to cause anything that falls into a black hole to be crushed into nothingness.
Sunspots are regions on the sun's surface that are cooler than their surroundings. They occur when concentrated bands of magnetic flux block sunlight from reaching parts of the sun's surface. This causes local areas to cool down and fade away until they disappear completely.
Many people associate lava with the hot, molten rock that periodically spews from volcanoes. But even lava can't compete with the sun! The photosphere is only about 15 million miles away from Earth's surface.
You might think that anything that hot would evaporate all the water on Earth within hours, but this isn't true. The water on Earth is actually ice, and it takes more energy to melt ice than it does to release its heat of fusion once it reaches a liquid state. In fact, some scientists believe that much of the water on Earth is still in a frozen state.
The only thing that can burn at temperatures that high is something called plasma. Plasma is a gas made up of charged particles, such as electrons and ions. Like other gases, plasma expands to fill its container, but it also becomes more dense at higher temperatures. This means that there is enough pressure pushing down on the plasma container to produce strong winds inside a planet's atmosphere.
Plasma can be found in many places around us today. For example, when lightning strikes a tree, it creates plasma which is how trees can receive their own form of electricity without being harmed by it.
The sun is far more powerful than lava. The surface temperature of the sun is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but the typical temperature of lava is just 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of lava ranges between 700 and 1200 degrees Celsius, whereas the temperature of the sun's surface is roughly 10,000 degrees Celsius. Lava is very hot, reaching temperatures of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit or more....
Lava can get much hotter than this, though. Lava that has cooled down from the molten state is called "glow in the dark rock". If it isn't cooled down, then it is still hot enough to burn skin if it touches it. There have been cases where people have walked on lava flows without any problem, but they would not be able to do so again if it was still hot enough to burn their feet.
Stars are also very hot. Thousands of degrees Fahrenheit. Even with all that heat, they still shine brightly because there are many particles in the air that reflect some of that light back towards Earth. These particles include oxygen molecules and tiny dust grains. The stars as we know them are actually giant balls of gas that are burning away at their cores.
A supernova is when a star runs out of fuel and collapses under its own weight into a neutron star or black hole. This happens when it has used up all its hydrogen and helium and left only iron behind as a remnant. A supernova explosion can blow away the mass of a whole galaxy, leaving nothing behind other than some heavy elements spread across space.
Lava is very hot, reaching temperatures of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit or more. To reach the sun's hottest region, you must first go all the way to its core. Nuclear fusion generates temperatures of roughly 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit at the core.
But the sun isn't entirely solid rock. It's made up of gases that are mostly hydrogen and helium with some carbon and other elements mixed in. The heat from the sun melts these gases, causing them to flow out into space. This is why planets tend to have atmospheres made of gas rather than rock: Without an atmosphere to resist pressure, any material that can be melted will do so, and it will then pour out of the planet's surface where it was located before it melted.
So yes, lava on Earth and solar plasma on other worlds may look similar, but they are not the same thing! Lava is a fluid that is hard to control, while solar plasma is a stream of charged particles that can burn through anything in its path.