Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Nucleocosmochronology: hydrogen/helium ratio and its change

  1. Feb 2, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Assume that the mass-to-light ratio, M/L, for the galaxy is, and has always been, 10 in solar units. What is the maximum fraction of the total mass that could have been burnt into helium from hydrogen over [itex]10^{10}[/itex] years? (The mass deficit for the reaction [itex]4H \rightarrow ^4He[/itex] is 0.7%)

    2. The attempt at a solution
    "10 in solar units" should mean

    [tex]\frac{M}{L} = 10 \frac{M_{\odot}}{L_{\odot}}[/tex]

    but then what? This is a basic nuclear physics problem, isn't it?
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2007 #2
    Can I use

    [tex]\frac{N}{N_0} = e^{-\lambda t_s}[/tex]

    and put [itex]t_s = 10^{10}[/itex]? If so I need to know the "half-life" for the proton-proton reaction. But there is something with the mass deficit aswell... As you can see, I'm not too good at nuclear physics.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook