Atoms within the sun

  • #1
So the sun is largely hydrogen atoms and those hydrogen atoms are undergoing fusion all the way up until they reach iron. My question is are the electrons orbiting around the nucleus just as they are in any normal object? Or is the sun just like a pool of electrons and protons floating around with no predictable order in regards to the relation between electrons and protons?
Basically what is the orientation of electrons and protons within objects as hot and dense as stars.
 

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  • #2
DrClaude
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The Sun is a big ball of plasma. There are no atoms in it, in the sense of electrons connected with a particular nucleus.

By the way, the Sun will never end up producing iron. It is not big enough for that.
 
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  • #3
The Sun is a big ball of plasma. There are no atoms in it, in the sense of electrons connected with a particular nucleus.

By the way, the Sun will never end up producing iron. It is not big enough for that.
Interesting! Thanks. I just looked into what you said about iron. It checks out! Interestingly enough there is in fact Iron within the sun but apparently that is from previous stars. The sun doesn't create it and I guess it never will? I was under the impression that super novas were caused by stars only creating iron and getting no return on energy and thus creating a cooling effect that expands the star into an explosion. I know our star is predicted to die at some point. Can you help me connect some dots? I feel like I'm missing something. Can stars explode before reaching the creation of iron stage?
 
  • #4
Orodruin
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Going supernova is not the only way for a star to die. Smaller stars essentially die by no longer being able to sustain fusion and gradually fade away to become white dwarves.
 
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  • #5
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The photosphere of the sun does have hydrogen and other atoms which give rise to the absorption lines in the solar spectrum.
Regards Andrew
 
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  • #6
Janus
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Interesting! Thanks. I just looked into what you said about iron. It checks out! Interestingly enough there is in fact Iron within the sun but apparently that is from previous stars. The sun doesn't create it and I guess it never will? I was under the impression that super novas were caused by stars only creating iron and getting no return on energy and thus creating a cooling effect that expands the star into an explosion. I know our star is predicted to die at some point. Can you help me connect some dots? I feel like I'm missing something. Can stars explode before reaching the creation of iron stage?
How star evolve depends on their mass. Large massive stars can end as supernovae. Stars like our Sun expand into red giants, Then later will blow off some of its mass before shrinking to a white dwarf. Stars much less massive than or Sun like Red dwarfs, will burn pretty much steadily for trillions of years before finally exhausting their fuel and settling into a white dwarf stage.
 
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  • #7
stefan r
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Wikipedia's article on stellar evolution is good IMO. If you want something better you should probably get an astronomy textbook and just dig in. Also see articles on main sequence, evolution of the solar system, the Sun, red giant branch, and asymptotic branch, and white dwarf.
 
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  • #8
FYI: A.G.W. Cameron's updated and revised text: "Stellar Evolution, Nuclear Astrophysics, and Nucleogenesis" is still available on Amazon.
 
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  • #9
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The photosphere of the sun does have hydrogen and other atoms which give rise to the absorption lines in the solar spectrum.
Regards Andrew
It is mainly neutral atoms, in fact. Just 0.04% of the hydrogen atoms are ionized at an optical depth of 1. For helium that fraction should be much smaller.
Bilderberg model
 
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  • #10
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I'm not an expert / scientist but as I understand it the elements created go up the periodic table. From hydrogen, to helium and the rest depends on the mass of the star. If the star has sufficient mass, i.e. is has sufficient pressure in it's core, it can go on to produce heavier and heavier elements until the pressures it can produce can no longer sustain fusion at that stage and begin to die and become a red giant.

Only the biggest stars have sufficients mass / pressure in their core to go on producing heavier and heavier elements until they start producing iron and then go supernova at that point. The vast majority of stars are not big enough to get to this phase though. Our sun is not big enough and will never produce any iron.
 

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