Why does only a tiny fraction of the energy from the sun reaches Earth, though they spread in all directions?





Most energy emitted by the Sun is in the form of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared waves.


  1. Earth is not much more than a speck in the path of the sun’s energy, it just is not big enough to collect more than it does.

  2. You have two spheres The earth and the surface area sphere the earth is in at 93 million miles from the sun. The energy radiated from the sun is uniform is all direction.
    The area of the sphere the earth is in is 4pir^2 = 4*3.14*93,0000^2 = 1.1 *10^17 miles square.
    The cross sectional area of the earth is piRe^2 = 3.14*3,980^2 = 50 million square miles
    Therefore, the ratio of the amount of energy that hit the earth is 50*10^6/1.1*10^17
    = 4.6 *10^-10 = about 1/2 of a billionth which is a very very small fraction.

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