Where do the electrons go? (in stellar nuclear fusion)

  • #1

Summary:

I have got a question about the function of stars and how nuclear fusion and the release of cosmic rays work in particular.
I have to give a presentation about natural Radiation and I am very happy about it because it includes Astrophysics. I want to explain to my audience how the stars produce cosmic rays. I thought about explaining to them how nuclear fusion and that kind of stuff works but then I realized that I have got a big gap in knowledge. I didn't know what happens to the electrons inside the star because they aren't released like the neutrons and protons. Where do they go? Do they stay inside the star until it explodes`? Are they send out but they just don't reach earth and other planets? What happens with the electrons? I hope that anyone of you can explain to me how that works.
Sincerely Thies Kohl
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #3
mathman
Science Advisor
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Charged particles move fast, but because of electro-magetism, they just stay around. The sun is a big ball of plasma.
 
  • #4
Keith_McClary
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  • #5
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Summary:: I have got a question about the function of stars and how nuclear fusion and the release of cosmic rays work in particular.

I have to give a presentation about natural Radiation and I am very happy about it because it includes Astrophysics. I want to explain to my audience how the stars produce cosmic rays. I thought about explaining to them how nuclear fusion and that kind of stuff works but then I realized that I have got a big gap in knowledge. I didn't know what happens to the electrons inside the star because they aren't released like the neutrons and protons. Where do they go? Do they stay inside the star until it explodes`? Are they send out but they just don't reach earth and other planets? What happens with the electrons? I hope that anyone of you can explain to me how that works.
Sincerely Thies Kohl
Everything fusion-wise stays inside the 'baking pot' of the Sun's core.

What you see on the surface is 'hot stuff' that is at ~6000K or so, and is hot because it is the result of the exothermic fusion process products working their way to the surface, by which time they have thermalised with the solar plasma.

You do not see 'energetic fusion products' at the surface, just hydrogen and the 'fusion products' that have cooled and worked their way to the surface. The Sun is a big lump of plasma with ions and electrons fully dissociated.

If matter leaves the surface of the Sun, it will leave it in a neutral form, either as neutral particles or as a neutral plasma (equal mix of electrons and ions).

This is because of the electric field between them which keeps them held together.

I recommend you look up 'ambipolar diffusion' as your starter on this.
 

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