When you have the sun in your shot, using a small aperture (like f/18 - f/22) creates a "star burst effect". Basically when your aperture is wide open the hole is more like a circle. However, when it is closed, the blades of the aperture create a polygon. This shape is what what creates the sun burst.
Here is a sample of one I tried this out on today. (shot at f/18)
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