I'm confused about the mass of the Sun (and stars in general). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun Wikipedia notes: " It is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma..." ...and later ... "About three quarters of the Sun's mass consists of hydrogen (~73%); the rest is mostly helium (~25%), ..." I thought that plasma was not comprised of elements (much less molecules); rather, it's a soup of particles in that fourth state of matter. Correct me if I'm off, of course. So how can the Sun be mostly H/He (mass) and hot plasma? ------------- I asked the above on another forum, and a reply was: "The atomic nuclei retain their identities, which is what gives the elemental abundances quoted." To which I replied: Wiki also notes: "In a plasma, electrons are ripped away from their nuclei, forming an electron "sea". This gives it the ability to conduct electricity." I can buy that ...except the fact that (for H, 75% of Sun's mass) you've got single protons floatin' 'round in a sea of electrons. Not sure what nuclear identities can be made out from that confused mess, unless you're further dividing the proton's HYDROGEN identity to its quark-based substructure. To which another member replied: "The nuclear identity of a proton is simply "hydrogen". No need to bring quarks into it, an isolated proton and a hydrogen nucleus are just the same thing." ------ So what is plasma in the Sun? E.g., ist it simply 75% Hydrogen as free-floating protons in a sea of electrons ... followed by 2P/2N nuclei in that same sea of electrons ... etc.? If I have single protons in a sea of electrons (but not in orbit around the proton), is that configuration elemental hydrogen? Thanks!