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Hydrogen and the Universe

  1. Nov 11, 2009 #1
    Ok, hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant atom in the universe. And I read that atoms are contantly trying to turn into a more stable being, where iron atoms are the most stable.

    Stars fuse hydrogen for energy, and when the hydrogen runs out, the stars life is over.

    So I have two questions.

    1. Do the heavier elements formed in stars get blasted into space when stars go supernova?

    2. It seems that the universe would eventually run out of hydrogen, so is there something or some process in the universe by which more hydrogen is created?

    This is my first post and I look forward to great discussions with everyone.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2009 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Yes, that's how most of the iron and all of the heavier metals on Earth got there.

    You can create some hydrogen by protons being knocked out of atoms but basically you are correct, ultimately the universe runs out of fuel (assuming it hasn't collapsed by then)
     
  4. Nov 11, 2009 #3
     
  5. Nov 12, 2009 #4

    Chalnoth

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    Let me just stress that it takes a long long long time for that to happen.
     
  6. Nov 12, 2009 #5
    As I know is not exist any observation of massive creation of hydrogen in Universe.

    So, that is an other strong argument of fact that the Universe does start a finite time ago. And, obvious, this time is shorten then the "hydrogen exhaust period" of Universe.
     
  7. Nov 12, 2009 #6
    I think the number I've seen is about 10 trillion years for the red dwarfs to die out.
     
  8. Nov 12, 2009 #7
    Thanks for the replies.

    The only thing I've ever herd that could create hydrogen is Radium and I guess maybe other radioactive materials. But I think that this is only on earth I'm not sure if it works in space. Supposedly, when you put a piece of radium in a container it will transform many of the atoms in the space into hydrogen. But this is an interaction with the elements that are in our air here on earth. so as i said i dont know if it works in space.

    Also I would imagine that the stars would use much more hydrogen than what was created even if it was so.
     
  9. Nov 12, 2009 #8

    mgb_phys

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    I think you slightly misunderstood.
    Most Helium on Earth is created from radioactive decay, heavy elements emit alpha particles (2n+2p) which when neutralised by a couple of electrons makes Helium.

    There aren't many nuclear reactions that produce a single proton (which would pick up an electron to make hydrogen) and certainly not in anything but negligble amounts
     
  10. Nov 12, 2009 #9

    Chalnoth

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    I think most of the hydrogen that would come from nuclear reactions would come from the emission of neutrons, which decay to protons after a few minutes.
     
  11. Nov 12, 2009 #10

    mgb_phys

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    Not exactly a common source of Hydrogen though
     
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