Name of the Sun

by Fraser Cain on September 26, 2008

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Solar prominences on the Sun. Image credit: NASA

Solar prominences on the Sun. Image credit: NASA

Many of the brightest, most familiar stars in the sky have names. For example, have you ever heard of Sirius – the brightest star in the sky? Or Polaris, also known as the North Star. If all these stars have names, does the Sun have a name?

Actually, the Sun doesn’t have its own name, apart from “the Sun”. But “sun” is also a generic name that you can use for any star. Sometimes people say that a star has the mass of 20 suns, or planets orbit other suns. You might have heard the term “sol”, but that’s just another name for Sun, based on the Roman God of the Sun.

We now know that the Sun is just a star. And so, it can be classified into categories like the other stars in the Universe. Just in case you were wondering, the Sun is a G2V star. The G2 part refers to the spectral class, and the V part is the luminosity. Stars with the “V” designation are in the main-sequence, or hydrogen burning, phase of their lives.

So it’s kind of strange to say, but Sun has no scientific name or designation, apart from, “the Sun”. Every other star in the sky does have a scientific designation.

We have recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast just about the Sun called The Sun, Spots and All.

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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