Where does the energy from the stars come from?

High pressure and enormous heat kick-start nuclear fusion inside stars: this phenomenon releases an incredible amount of energy and creates a good part of the chemical elements in the universe

Producing energy is what makes a star a star. In their nuclei, under intense pressure and heat created by their enormous mass, temperatures can reach millions of degrees Celsius. Our sun, considered a medium sized star, can reach temperatures of 15 million degrees Celsius and pressures of around 340 billion atmospheres. These conditions allow nuclear fusion – in the Sun’s case, the fusion of hydrogen atoms to form helium. In other stars and supernovae, the same process can create carbon most of the other atoms in the periodic table. Everything happens within stars. Were you aware that the atoms that help make up your body were produced in stars? We are all, quite literally, made of stardust.

Content published in November 27, 2018

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