ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD believed that the earth is a second-rate planet revolving around a second-rate sun. Perhaps this philosopher-mathematician was having a bad day. But his knock at the sun still leaves us where we began: It is not just the only sun we have, but for these past billion or so years it appears to have been more adequate as well. Exactly how much more the sun could be doing for us is on the minds of the organizers of Sun Daily, the celebration of solar energy on May 3.

Celebrations are meant to be lighthearted moments and Sun Day, if we understood its purpose, is supposed to be a time, shall we say, for reflection snd illumination. Here in the District, to get the show going, a number of displays of solar equipment are scheduled to be exhibited on the Mall. In the courtyard of L'Enfant Plaza, model solar equipment for residential use will be displayed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the Washington Monument, a mix of speeches and music will be offered, with the monument itself standing as tall as the centerpiece of the sun dial created by the National Park Service. For those who want to take their place in the sun but not be motionless while doing it, a run around the Mall is scheduled for noon.

The president, in his proclamation for Sun Day, spoke of "the sun as an inexhaustible source of clean energy." If the displays on the Mall, as well as the hundreds scheduled around the country, throw a little sunlight on the solar options that lie ahead, than perhaps at some future moment, we can celebrate another Sun Day - based more on results than hopes.