The sun has been producing light for about five billion years but where does all its energy come from? The most common idea is that the sun is burning gas – like a giant fireball in the sky. If this were true, the sun would have gone out long ago. So how is the sun actually fuelling itself? It is converting its own mass into energy. By combining protons (the nucleus of hydrogen) into helium, it squeezes some mass into energy – 4.3 billion kg per second. It is Einstein’s famous E=mc^2 which gives us the quantitative relationship between mass and energy, where c is the speed of light.