Have you ever wondered exactly how many lumens the sun produces?
Considering it’s one of the biggest light sources known to man, capable of illuminating entire countries at a time, the number must be massive.
Although there isn’t an exact science that we can use to determine just how bright the sun is, there are ways we can estimate its general luminosity.
In this article, we try to answer the question “How many lumens is the sun?” And other commonly asked questions from people.
Ready for more? Keep on reading then.
- What Are Light Waves?
- What Is Visible Light?
- What Are Lumens?
- How Many Lumens Is the Sun?
- How Many Lumens of Visible Light Reach the Earth from the Sun?
- How Many Lumens Is the Moon?
- Can You Damage Your Eyes By Staring at the Sun?
- How Many Lumens Are Enough to Hurt My Eyes?
- Can I Go Blind if I Stare at the Sun for a Long Time?
- Can Other Light Spectrum Hurt Your Eyes
- Final Thoughts
What Are Light Waves?
Light travels in waves, similar to how water travels from the ocean to the shore.
All light comes from a source, and these sources radiate light waves of both electric and magnetic charges.
These “light waves” are what experts call electromagnetic waves/radiation.
The sun itself contains a consistent distribution of electromagnetic waves, ranging from long frequencies to short ones, across its entire surface.
These frequencies are divided into three categories: visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths.
What Is Visible Light?
The human eye isn’t strong enough to perceive all three wavelengths. It can only see what is known as “visible light,” the electromagnetic spectrum that is positioned between the infrared and UV radiation wavelengths.
Visible light triggers the human eye’s ability to process light and color. The sun produces the most visible light from any light source.
Other common sources of visible light include incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs, halogen bulbs, and fluorescent bulbs.
What Are Lumens?
The amount of visible light that is produced by a light source is determined using the unit of measurement “lumen/s.”
In other words, it identifies how bright or dim a light source is. The higher the luminosity rating a light source has, the brighter it is.
How Many Lumens Is the Sun?
It’s much more difficult to accurately calculate the luminosity rating of the sun.
Considering that it’s over 100 million kilometers away from the earth, the light that we see might not accurately depict the sun’s actual brightness.
In reports, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) estimates that around 1369 watts per square meter fall on the earth’s surface each day.
Each watt that the sun puts out, 93 lumens of visible light is produced. Multiply that 1369 times, and you have 127,317 lumens for every square meter of sunlight.
Now, let’s take that number and multiply it by the total size of the sun in square meters (281.2 sextillion square meters).
Results will show you that the sun produces around 35.73 octillion lumens. (No wonder staring into the sun for too long could result in headaches!)
How Many Lumens of Visible Light Reach the Earth from the Sun?
Due to the distance between our planet in the massive star (the sun), the light that manages to travel to the earth’s surface is only a small fraction of the sun’s actual output.
According to studies, the vast majority of the light that the sun produces doesn’t hit the earth.
How Many Lumens Is the Moon?
Technically, the moon is not an actual light source, since it doesn’t create its light. However, it does reflect a lot of the sun’s light down to earth.
If we were to calculate the moon’s luminosity based on that (the amount of sunlight it reflects), it would bring us around 5.6e17 lumens per square meter of a sphere, the same radius as the earth’s moon.
Can You Damage Your Eyes By Staring at the Sun?
You can damage your eyes if you stare at the sun for too long. As you know, the retina is one of the most sensitive parts of an individual’s eye. It’s responsible for interpreting light waves and helping you see and distinguish color.
When you stare into a source that produces high amounts of ultraviolet radiation, e.g., the sun, a welding torch, or even a small UV flashlight, the UV rays present in these sources can burn the exposed tissue in your eye.
Too much sunlight exposure can result in short-term corneal sunburn, light sensitivity, pain, or even long-term blindness.
There may even be some cases when people may experience solar retinopathy — a condition where a hole has been burned through the retinal tissue due to excessive sunlight exposure.
How Many Lumens Are Enough to Hurt My Eyes?
As little as 80 lumens can cause your eyes to feel a little irritation or flash blindness, especially if you don’t look away fast enough.
Two hundred lumens is enough to cause temporary blindness.
Can I Go Blind if I Stare at the Sun for a Long Time?
Staring at the sun for even a couple of seconds can cause severe damage to your eyes.
Now if you’re asking how long you can stare at the sun before going blind, it would only take a hundred seconds or less for permanent retinal damage to occur.
Can Other Light Spectrum Hurt Your Eyes
All electromagnetic waves have the potential to hurt your eyes, especially when used incorrectly.
This is why experts recommend people to wear the proper eye protection when going out on particularly sunny days.
Light travels to the earth in waves that are imperceivable to the human eye. The sun holds over a thousand types of light waves, most of which don’t reach the earth’s surface.
Calculating the exact luminosity of the sun is impossible unless scientists were to figure out a way to get very close to this large ball of fire without getting scorched.
However, we can settle to calculate the amount of visible light that reaches the earth’s surface.
The light that the sun produces is massive, which is why looking at it for a long period can cause serious and even irreparable damage to the eyes.
Listen to the experts, and don’t experiment with sunlight on your eyes, for your safety.
We hope this article satisfies your curiosity!
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.