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Table of Contents Enchanted Learning
All About Astronomy
Site Index
Our Solar System Stars Glossary Printables, Worksheets, and Activities
The Sun The Planets The Moon Asteroids Kuiper Belt Comets Meteors Astronomers

The Stars
Lifecycle Nuclear Fusion Brightest Stars Galaxies Other Solar Systems Constellations Why Stars Twinkle
Birth Death Star Types Closest Stars Nebulae Major Stars The Zodiac Activities, Links

NUCLEAR FUSION IN STARS: NUCLEOSYNTHESIS

WHY ARE STARS HOT AND BRIGHT?
Nuclear Fusion and Nucleosynthesis
Stars are giant nuclear reactors. In the center of stars, atoms are taken apart by tremendous atomic collisions that alter the atomic structure and release an enormous amount of energy. This makes stars hot and bright.

Nuclear fusion is an atomic reaction that fuels stars. In fusion, many nuclei (the centers of atoms) combine together to make a larger one (which is a different element). The result of this process is the release of a lot of energy (the resultant nucleus is smaller in mass than the sum of the ones that made it; the difference in mass is converted into energy by the equation E=mc2).

Stars are powered by nuclear fusion in their cores, mostly converting hydrogen into helium.

The production of new elements via nuclear reactions is called nucleosynthesis. A star's mass determines what other type of nucleosynthesis occurs in its core (or during explosive changes in its life cycle). Each of us is made from atoms that were produced in stars and went through a supernova.
STELLAR FUSION LINKS ON THE WEB

Fusion from the University of Winnipeg




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