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Factsheet – The Sun

The Sun was created on the fourth day, at the same time as the moon and the stars, and the day after plants and sea-life. Several billion 500-watt daylight lamps were used to keep the plants and sea-life alive for the twenty-four hours in-between these two events. Two days after creating the Sun, God created man, but man did not create Hawaiian Tropic SPF30 lotion for several thousand years and often burned quite badly in the summer, or dropped dead of skin cancer without really knowing why.

The Sun has inspired great mythology throughout history. The Ancient Greeks believed that the Sun was drawn across the sky by the god Apollo, who towed it behind a golden chariot pulled by horses or, in some versions of the story, his wife. The Egyptians believed that a scarab beetle rolled the glowing orb through the heavens, and would venerate the insects for fear of angering their celestial cousin. If an Egyptian stepped on a scarab beetle he would build it a reasonable-sized pyramid and give it a decent burial, with a big ball of dung to take into the next life. Then, if particularly devout, he would eat nothing but dry crackers for a week.

However the strangest Sun-related belief of all time is surely that of Dr Terence Fell of Wellington, New Zealand, who claims that the Sun is stapled to the hat of an old man named George, who visits him regularly for afternoon tea and cheats at Snakes & Ladders. Fell points to the repeated melting of his house as proof of this claim, but becomes reticent under close questioning and accuses people of perfidy when they try and show him astronomical charts.

Galileo’s assertion that the Sun lay at the centre of the solar system (heliocentricity) was initially greeted with hoots of ribald laughter (derision) by those who lived and worked around him (his peers). It also annoyed the Catholic Church so much that they snapped their pencils, and then sued for compensation. When it emerged that Galileo had no money and could not replace the broken pencils, they agreed to settle out of court as long as he admitted that the Sun was nowhere near the centre of the universe and was actually brought into the Vatican at night, for cleaning.

The Sun will eventually burn out, having exhausted its fuel supply, leaving the solar system both dark and cold. The British government have appointed a think-tank to come up with a plan of action for this eventuality, although so far they have failed to produce any ideas beyond “making another one”, and spend most of their time discussing where to go for lunch.