Since the sun is one giant ball of gas, what force holds its consistent shape and size? Why doesn't it expand and burn up quickly?
Asked by: J.J. True
The Sun maintains its size and shape against the outward pressure of fusion energy by the force of gravity. In other words, its own weight keeps the Sun from growing larger.
It is the stable balance of outward gas pressure vs. the inward pull of gravity that determines the size of any star.
The predominantly spherical shape of all but the smallest astronomical bodies (asteroids, for example) is due to the radially symmetric nature of the gravitational force.
Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A. Physics, Part-time Physics Instructor
'I beseech you to take interest in these sacred domains so expressively called laboratories. Ask that there be more and that they be adorned for these are the temples of the future, wealth and well-being. It is here that humanity will grow, strengthen and improve. Here, humanity will learn to read progress and individual harmony in the works of nature, while humanity's own works are all too often those of barbarism, fanaticism and destruction.'