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How about some Sun Terms?


The Sun  is the star at the center of the Solar System.  Energy from the Sun, in the form of sunlight, supports almost all life on Earth via photosynthesis, and drives the Earth's climate and weather.


Solar comes from sol which means sun in Latin.



Simple Solar Distiller (something that might save you from dying of thirst in the desert):   Dig a hole in the ground, place a cup in the bottom of the hole, and cover the hole with clear plastic. Put a small stone in the center of the plastic, so that the condensed water vapor drips into the cup. There is always some moisture in soil.


Solar Dehydrator can be made from two cardboard boxes, some clear plastic wrap, and a little tape. Find out.


Making a Solar Air Heater can be as easy as making a pipe from several aluminum soda cans and painting it black.  Lay several "pipes" out into an open box, spray-paint them black, and cover the face of the box with plastic or glass, leaving openings at the bottom of the box (to let cool air in) and the top (to let warmed air out).  This was designed by Dennis Fath of H.D. Mechanical in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 

See a more chic design. 




Check this out:  Soda Bottle Water Heater and Pasteurizer made from everyday recyclables.

See details.




Sundials to make and to learn the principles of operation of using the sun to tell time. Click on the image.




Find out how do we get electricity from the sun.


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Solar energy, the energy from the sun, comes in two forms:


1) heat (or thermal energy) and

2) light


Solar energy and solar power have a long history of providing mankind with food, heat and light to modern electricity. The diversity of form and long history of solar energy are manifest in a wide variety of applications.


Solar thermal technologies uses the solar heat energy to heat substances such as water or air. Here are some applications:

Purifying Water

By heating water, solar energy can be used to purify water.  Harmful bacteria in water can be killed by bringing the water's temperature up to 65 degrees Celsius (150 degrees Fahrenheit) for a few minutes. A more complex method purifying water is by solar distillation, the process of heating up water to vaporization and accumulating water vapor in a cooler surfaces.


A solar distiller on the beach of Baja, Mexico converts seawater into drinking water.


More on solar distillers

and distilled water...







Heating Water for Washing , Home Heating, Pool Heating  

The simplest of these types of solar collectors is black tubing filled with water slowly circulating through it, absorbing solar radiation. Common are many-tubed black plastic mats, often used for swimming pool heating.


Heating Air for Drying  

Long before the days of electric dryers, solar energy has been used for getting moisture out of things such as clothes, hair, food (meat, fruit and herbs), etc.


Heating Air for Drying  

Long before the days of electric dryers, solar energy has been used for getting moisture out of things such as clothes, hair, food (meat, fruit and


Heating, Cooling and Ventillation

Solar energy helps to keep rooms in homes and industries at a comfortable temperature throughout the day and night. This is achieved through several ways.

  • A thermal mass is designed to store heat during sunny periods and release when sunlight level are reduced or unavailable.

  • A Trombe wall consist of an air channel sandwiched between a window and a sun-facing thermal mass.  During the ventilation cycle sunlight stores heat in the thermal mass and warms the air channel causing circulation through vents at the top and bottom of the wall.  During the heating cycle, the Trombe wall radiates stored heat.

  • A transpired collector is a perforated sun-facing wall.  The wall absorbs sunlight and pre-heats air as much as 22ºC as it is drawn into the ventilation system.  These systems are highly efficient (up to 80%) and can pay for themselves within 3-12 years in offset heating costs.

  • Solar cooling can be achieved via absorption refrigeration cycles, desiccant cycles and solar mechanical processes.  IN 1878 Auguste Mouchout pioneered solar cooling by making ice using a solar steam engine attached to a refrigeration device.

  • A solar chimney, composed of a hollow thermal mass connecting the inside and outside of a building, have been in use since Roman times and are common in the Middle East.  Direct gain warms air inside the chimney causing it to rise out the top and drawing air in from the bottom.  This drawing of air can be used to ventilate a home or office, to draw air though a geothermal heat exchange, or to ventilate only a specific area such as a composting toilet.

Cool tower at Zion National Park's Visitor Center provides cool air.






Sunlight not only provides illumination throughout the day but can be captured and converted to electricity (photovoltaics).  It is used in a variety of ways.


Using only sunlight and no fuel or firewood, solar cookers are the most environment-friendly way of cooking, drying and pasteurization.  The most common designs are box cookers, concentrating cookers and panel cookers.  See more designs.  



Solar cells or photovoltaic cells converts light into electricity.  Most common use of these cells would be the low-powered devices such as calculators, recreation vehicles (RVs), small AM/FM radios and flashlights/lamps. Photovoltaic or PV systems are used to provide electricity to homes and business on-the-grid as well those which can't be reached by conventional electrical grid.  These systems can power TV, video, telephony, and a range of refrigeration systems.  They can be used to pump water in remote areas as part of a portable water supply system.


To Tell Time  

As early as 3500 B.C., time has been measured by the position of the sun.  These devices are known as sundials.  Below are some pictures of sundials:  a human sundial drawin by Douglas Hunt, a brass portable sundial made Dublin in 1742 by mathematical instrument maker Gabriel Stokes, and a digital sundial drawn by Willy Leenders.







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