B1 Intermediate UK 8163 Folder Collection
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Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm
Neil: and I'm Neil. Hello.
Rob: Hello, Neil, and what a glorious sunny day
it is today. Not a cloud in the sky! Spring is definitely here! Now, Neil, you're a bit
of a sun worshipper, aren't you? You like sunbathing...
Neil: I do indeed! I love sitting in my deckchair
in the garden, catching some rays...
Rob: Hmm, yes, you look a bit orange actually.
Are you sure that tan's not fake?
Neil: Very cheeky, Rob, very cheeky...
Rob: Now the reason I mentioned sunbathing is because
we're discussing the sun in this programme.
Neil: Yes, that's right. The sun is our nearest
star ─ although it's a staggering 150 million kilometres away. Earth is one of nine planets
that orbit ─ or circle around ─ the sun. And life on Earth couldn't exist without its
warmth and light.
Rob: And we should mention... The sun is absolutely
massive. Its volume is so large you could fit a million Earths inside it.
Neil: That's amazing! It's also incredibly hot.
Hotter than anything you could imagine.
Rob: So Neil, can you answer this question: How
hot is the surface of the sun? Now I'll help you out by telling you that the sun's core
─ that's the centre ─ is a blistering five million degrees Celsius. But how hot
is the sun's surface? Is it...
a) 1.5 billion degrees Celsius b) 1.5 million degrees Celsius or
c) 5500 degrees Celsius
Neil: Hmm. I have no idea. They all sound quite
warm to me. But ... I think it must be a bit cooler than the core. So I'm going to go for
1.5 million degrees.
Rob: Okay. Well, we'll find out if you're right
or wrong later on. But now let's listen to Professor of Solar Physics Louise Harra to
discover what the sun is made of.
Louise Harra: It's just a big ball of gas. And we measure
it... it's made mostly of hydrogen. So it's roughly
90% hydrogen, it's maybe 8% helium, and the rest of it's made up of things like iron,
carbon, oxygen, nickel.
Neil: So the main gas is hydrogen, which accounts
for 90% of the sun's matter. Now, 'matter' means what something is made of.
Rob: And hydrogen creates all the sun's energy.
Heat and light energy is created all the time in the sun's core as a result of gas explosions
or nuclear reactions. And this bit is hard to believe ─ it takes a hundred thousand
years for this light energy to travel from the sun's core to the sun's surface.
Neil: But once it reaches the sun's surface ─ the
photosphere ─ it can escape. In fact, it takes only eight minutes for light energy
from the sun to reach the Earth. Scientists these days are able to see the photosphere
in fantastic detail using powerful telescopes.
Rob: Though Galileo observed dark spots on the
sun through his telescope several hundred years ago, didn't he? Which brings us on to
another question: How old is the sun?
Neil: Well, I happen to know that it came into being
around four and a half billion years ago.
Rob: Did you study solar physics at university,
Neil: No, just... you know, just general knowledge.
Rob: Well, the sun came into being ─ or was created
─ a very long time ago! We're going to hear now from Professor of Physics, Yvonne Elseworth.
What does she say about how long the sun is going to stay the same?
Yvonne Elseworth: In terms of its current lifestyle it's here
for as long again, so we're about half way through. And then it becomes a different sort
of star ─ it becomes a giant star and that's probably curtains for us, actually. It'll
get a bit warm, a bit toasty, and we'll get enveloped in the sun, and it won't be nice...
Neil: So the sun is going to stay the same for another
four and a half billion years. But the professor also says that the sun will change. When it
becomes a giant star, it will be curtains for our planet ─ and 'curtains' means the
end, I'm afraid!
Rob: Yes, it does. And as a giant star, the sun
will get hotter ─ it will make the Earth toasty. Now, toasty usually means hot in a
nice way.
Neil: That's right ─ for example, my toes are
warm and toasty in my new slippers. But in reality the giant sun will make the Earth
unbearably hot. It will surround ─ or envelop ─ our planet and burn it up.
Rob: Well, I'm glad we're not going to be around
when that happens. Now, remember at the beginning of the show I asked you how hot is the sun's
surface? Is it a) 1.5 billion b) 1.5 million or c) 5500 degrees Celsius?
Neil: And I said 1.5 million...
Rob: It's way too hot, I'm afraid you were wrong.
The answer is actually 5500 degrees Celsius. But still, if you're planning on visiting
the sun, remember to take your sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen! Now, before we go,
it's time to remind ourselves of some of the vocabulary that we've heard today. Neil.
Neil: orbit, massive, core, energy, matter, photosphere,
come into being, curtains for something, toasty, envelop
Rob: Thanks. Well, that brings us to the end of
today's 6 Minute English. We hope you enjoyed today's programme. Please join us again soon.
Bye bye.
Neil: Bye.
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BBC 6 Minute English_April 09, 2015 - The Sun

8163 Folder Collection
Adam Huang published on April 11, 2015
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