Although solar energy seems like a very familiar concept to most people, there are still many facts that most people do not know about this source of energy. Below, you will learn some interesting things about solar energy that you may not know about.
The Rise Of Solar Energy
If you check out the history books, you will learn that solar energy has been around for a very long time. The ancient Babylonians used to track the movement of the sun using specialized tools, and they depended on it for a large portion of their energy needs. Modern-day solar energy has its roots in the latter part of the 19th century, when physicists started tinkering with creating practical solar cells and devised a technique for mass-producing them. In the 20th century, solar energy grew in popularity as people began to see it as a viable energy source capable of helping in the fight against global warming.
The International Space Station (ISS)
The International Space Station (ISS) is an orbiting laboratory that has been in existence for more than 40 years. The ISS has been considered one of the greatest feats in human engineering, and it is certainly an inspiration to those who believe that we can use outer space for our advantage. The ISS has been in low Earth orbit since 1972, and it travels at a speed of about 28,000 miles per hour, which is the equivalent of about 16 miles per second. The ISS orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes, and its trip around the planet takes about half an hour. As you can see, the amount of time it takes for the ISS to make one complete trip around the Earth is about 14 hours. This gives you an idea of just how much energy the ISS uses – about 16,000 megawatts of power, which is the equivalent of about 7.5 million barrels of oil per year. That’s a lot of energy! The ISS has a laboratory, numerous bedrooms, a gymnasium, conference rooms, and a giant robot arm that projects images on a screen inside the station. It’s quite an amazing place, and I wish I could go there one day.
The Energy Of The Sun
The energy of the sun is an incredible amount of energy, and it can be put into practical use whenever and wherever you want. The key to tapping into this energy is through solar power. When the sun shines, its energy shines through to Earth, and we can use this energy to our advantage. The amount of energy the sun releases each year is about 200 million million megawatt hours – that’s enough to satisfy the world’s energy needs for an entire year. In other words, if we put a single solar cell on a ridge in the middle of nowhere, we would get about 17 years of energy from the sun (assuming 10 hours of sunshine per day). Consider the implications of that!
What Is Thermal Conduction?
Thermal conduction is a form of energy transfer that occurs when heat is conducted from one point to another. It is a relatively slow process, and it typically requires a lot of material to be affected by it. For example, if you want to transfer thermal energy from the surface of a hot mug of coffee to your hand, you will need to touch the mug several times to allow the heat to conduct through your hand and come into contact with other material. There are three basic steps to follow in order to be able to conduct heat through your body. First, you will need to develop the ability to sense the heat. Your skin has a better sense of temperature than anything else, which is why your body temperature is usually within 15 to 20 degrees of your skin temperature. The second step is to identify heat-conducting materials that you are in contact with. Your clothing and bedsheets are made of materials that conduct heat well, while the inside of a refrigerator does not. The last step is to ensure that these materials move heat from one place to another effortlessly – this entails making physical contact between the two points of heat conduction. When the heat touches your skin, it feels good and is accepted by your body.
Light is electromagnetic radiation, or waves of energy that are capable of being detected by the human eye. The sun is a shining example of this, as it releases light in the form of photons, which are the tiny particles that make up light. When light waves reach the surface of the Earth, they are constantly being absorbed and scattered by molecules in the atmosphere. This is why nighttime is darker than daytime; the sun doesn’t have as much light available at night, which means that fewer molecules are in the way to absorb it. The same goes for fog and clouds – the light doesn’t have enough space to pass through all the molecules in the air, so it is partly or completely blocked by other matter.
The efficiency of a solar cell is a measure of the percentage of electric power that it produces under constant and perfect conditions. A perfect solar cell is theoretically capable of converting all the energy from the sun into electricity with no losses at all – in other words, a theoretical perfect solar cell would have an efficiency rating of 100%. However, these things never happen in real life, so there will always be some efficiency loss.
In practice, physicists divide the efficiency of a solar cell into three categories: