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Apr3-12, 10:12 AM
P: 1,261
As Drakkith suggests, both aspects play a role. The threshold temperature for nuclear fusion due to collisions alone (at the densities approximately that of the sun's core) is about [itex]10^8[/itex] K. QM tunneling decreases this to about [itex]10^7[/itex] K, which is the temperature of the sun's core. If it weren't for tunneling, virtually no fusion reactions would take place.