The diameter of the Sun is 1,400,000 km (840,000 miles) which is more than 100 times the diameter of the Earth. Its mass is more than 300,000 times that of the Earth.








History and future of the 


Naturally occurring energy is all around us.  The problem is in collecting it.  Plants do it with leaves on land using chlorophyll to convert the Sun's rays into energy to grow.  Algae does it in the sea.  There is energy in the wind and in the waves, derived from the Sun.  Energy from the Sun reaches us across space as radiation.  Radiation is one of the most efficient ways of transmitting energy - lucky for us.  The radiation heats the Earth's surface which in turn creates wind and waves as the earth tries to cool itself by convection currents.  All this means is that heated air or water tries to flow to cooler parts of the Earth at the poles.  Simple really, but the land masses and water evaporation all go to disturb any regular flow, and this is how weather systems develop to be unpredictable.






The Earth collects around 1 kilowatt of energy per square meter from the Sun's radiation.   We can collect this radiation (called insolation) using photovoltaic cells, or solar cells.  If we connect a number of these cells together we can harness quite a bit of electricity, even if solar cells at this time are only 10-15% efficient.  As you can see from the picture above Solar Navigator has a large area of solar panels arranged to face the Sun.  The crew must keep away from these panels to prevent shading. 


Solarnavigator also collects the Sun's energy from the wind.  As you can see in the picture below, Solar Navigator also generates electricity from the wind which the crew can use to cook food and power navigation equipment.  This is why the vessel is known as a hybrid: there is more than one natural energy source being collected.  Four wind turbines are being tested on this 1/20 model of the wave piercing catamaran.










Learn about the yellow dwarf star in our solar system - Sun. Find out what the sunspots are, how the Sun creates nuclear energy and how it affects Earth. These web sites contain photographs, puzzles, and quizzes. Includes a link to the eThemes Resource on eclipse.

Resource Links:

StarChild: The Sun
Learn about the sunspots, solar winds, and solar flares. Listen to the Sun Song and learn the lyrics. Go to Level 2 to learn more about the Sun and view the movie.

BrainPop: Health, Science, Technology
Watch the animated movie about the sun then take a quiz.

Astronomy For Kids
This page has basic facts about the Sun for younger kids.

The Sun
Learn about the Sun and its rotation. Click on the icon of the sun with sunglasses to watch animation of sun's rotation at the blue right column. Scroll down the page and choose the "Take the Sun Test!"

The Virtual Sun
This web site is dedicated to the Sun. It has extensive information about sun's corona, temperature, its life cycle, and the influence on Earth. The site includes photographs and movies.

World Almanac for Kids
Read about the history of the sun's observation, its magnitude, structure, temperature, and evolution.

Children's Museum
Learn facts about the sun's diameter, mass, temperature, and its surface.

The SOHO Spacecraft Model
Read about the SOHO and its mission. Print out the colorful pages of this six-page PDF document and build a paper model.

Space Theme Unit
Print out this page and answer questions of the crossword. Includes an answer sheet.

The Sun: Powerhouse of the Solar System
Learn about nuclear fusion produced by the sun. Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos of a sunspot, quake and tornado on the sun. NOTE: the site has a guest book

The Sun
This page has quick facts about the sun including mythology, composition, and rotation.

Star Wars Kids: Featured Theme
Learn about the solstice and imagine how it would be on Tatooine - Star Wars imaginary planet with two suns. NOTE: This site has an animated ad.

Sun Comparison Activities
Learn about different aspects of the sun and their magnitude in relation to things you might know. Includes "How Big is the Sun?" and "How Hot is the Sun?"

Follow links on this page to learn about the sun's interior and surface, solar activity, and space missions. Play word search and memory games. View images in Image Archives and Recent Images of the sun.

BBC: Space: The Sun
Prepare for a journey to the sun and watch animated movie simulation of the star. Learn here what causes the sunspots to appear on the sun's surface. NOTE: The Talk link goes to a message board.

eThemes Resource: Solar System: Eclipses
These sites have information about solar and lunar eclipses. Includes descriptions, Webcasts, images, and charts. There are also sky charts and descriptions of the earth, moon, and sun relationships.














Light sensor: LDR

Sensor processor: microchip PIC comparator

Maths processor: microchip PIC

Serial port override: handheld device or laptop

Actuator drive: independently controlled by microchip PIC

Actuator feedback sensor: processed by microchip PIC








Paints - Coatings, antifouling

Autonomy - Computers - Software

Project Estimates


Project Objectives


PR Events - 

Construction - Modular


Diving - Hull survey & repair

Record Attempt

Electronics - Collision Avoidance COLREGS

Screens - 

Galley - 

Solar Arrays - tracking theory PIC PCB  MPPT PV trackers 

                     Actuators & circuits

Hydraulics - Active hull - 


Hull Design - Capsize - SWASSH - Lubrication

Timber - 

Life Support - 

Tank Testing - 

Model Construction

Tooling - 

Motors - DC v AC synchronous

Transmission - gearing & prop shaft/seals

Navigation  - 

Wind Turbines






SolarNavigator, Snav satellite navigation for autonomous ships

The ultimate Robot Boat. Solarnavigator uses an advanced SWASSH hull as the platform 

to mount the world's first autonomous circumnavigation. A successful expedition could pave the way for improved safety at sea.




This website is copyright © 1991- 2013 Electrick Publications. All rights reserved. The bird logo and names Solar Navigator and Blueplanet Ecostar are trademarks ™.  The Blueplanet vehicle configuration is registered ®.  All other trademarks hereby acknowledged and please note that this project should not be confused with the Australian: 'World Solar Challenge'™which is a superb road vehicle endurance race from Darwin to Adelaide.  Max Energy Limited is an educational charity working hard to promote world peace.