Sun is just a star. It's our closest, most familiar star, but it's still just a star. With a great big Universe out there, populated with countless stars, astronomers have been able to see examples of stars in all shapes, sizes, metal content and ages. According to their system of classification, the Sun is known as a yellow dwarf star. This group of stars are relatively small, containing between 80% and 100% the mass of the Sun. So the Sun is at the higher end of this group. The official designation is as a G V star.Our Sun is right in the middle ages, in a time known as the main sequence. It has already lived for 4.3 billion years, and will likely last another 7 billion years or so.
The Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way at a distance of approximately 24,000–26,000 light years from the galactic center, completing one clockwise orbit, as viewed from the galactic north pole, in about 225–250 million years. The mean distance of the Sun from the Earth is approximately 149.6 million kilometers (1 AU), though this varies as the Earth moves from perihelion in January to aphelion in July. At this average distance, light travels from the Sun to Earth in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds.
We live on the planet, so we think it's an equal member of the Solar System. But that couldn't be further from the truth. The reality is that the mass of the Sun accounts for 99.8% of the mass of the Solar System. And most of that final 0.2% comes from Jupiter. So the mass of the Earth is a fraction of a fraction of the mass of the Solar System. Really, we barely exist. If you could take apart the Sun and pile up its different elements, you'd find that 74% of its mass comes from hydrogen. with 24% helium. The remaining 2% is includes trace amounts of iron, nickel, oxygen, and all the other elements we have in the Solar System. In other words, the Solar System is mostly made of hydrogen. With a diameter of 109 times the size the Earth, the Sun makes a really big sphere. You could fit 1.3 million Earths inside the Sun. Or you could flatten out 11,990 Earths to cover the surface of the Sun.
Above: Sun in space, down: Sun - the structure
That's big, but there are some much bigger stars out there. For example, the biggest star that we know of would almost reach Saturn if it were placed inside the Solar System. It is often said that the Sun is an "ordinary" star. That's true in the sense that there are many others similar to it.
Above: Sun and the Solar Syste are situated in Milky Way
The Sun looks like a burning ball of fire, but it actually has an internal structure. The visible surface we can see is called the photosphere, and heats up to a temperature of about 6,000 degrees Kelvin. Beneath that is the convective zone, where heat moves slowly from the inner Sun to the surface, and cooled material falls back down in columns. This region starts at 70% of the radius of the Sun. Beneath the convection zone is the radiative zone. In this zone, heat can only travel through radiation. The core of the Sun extends from the center of the Sun to a distance of 0.2 solar radii. This is where temperatures reach 13.6 million degrees Kelvin, and molecules of hydrogen are fused into helium.
We owe everything we have to the Sun. If it weren't for the Sun, there'd be no life on Earth. The relationship between Sun and Earth has gone back for 4.6 billion years, and should last for another 7 billion years or so. From our perspective, Sun and Earth go hand in hand. This energy from the Sun heats up the planet, preventing us from cooling down to near absolute zero temperatures of space. Our atmosphere traps the energy as heat, keeping the whole planet a nice comfortable temperature.