Dear Dr. Staff: Why is the sun so bright? My pappy said something about a bunch of deer-spotter lights up in the sky, hanging off the moon or something, but nobody thinks he's too smart anyway. I went and asked my Uncle Smiley about it, and he told me that the sun being so bright was the result of some sort of chemical reaction like a bunch of nuclear bombs going off all the time, like in a big war, but that doesn't seem right since it would cost an awful lot of money to built those bombs, and I don't think the Pentagon gets quite that much money. What did they do before we build those bombs? Was it cold?
Dear Kid: Your Uncle Smiley was right, sort-of. First off, an ancient civilization built all the bombs, during a nasty war that killed all them off, which is why you don't see any of them around any more. But to explain the rest of it, I'll need to describe a complicated scientific concept. When you shine a light at something, it lights up. Not because it's making any light, but because it's reflecting light from the light you're shining on it. Well, the same sort of thing happens in the sky, also. You see, the moon is actually the source of all the light, but it has a shield covering half of it so we can watch it go from a full moon to a half moon to a new moon and all that. The moon is really bright, it shines light out towards the sun, which reflects light back towards earth, and lightens the place up. You might wonder why the moon isn't brighter than the sun, with it being the source of light and all, but this is due to gravity. The moon's gravity causes the atmosphere to bunch up on the side of the moon, and, since there's all that smog in it, it blocks the light. Many years ago, the moon used to be brighter than the sun, but a lot more people got skin cancer back then so scientists invented the Industrial Revolution to fix that.