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Thread: What is the heaviest element our Sun can make?

  1. #1 What is the heaviest element our Sun can make? 
    Forum Bachelors Degree One beer's Avatar
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    I understand that our sun is too small to produce many elements?

    What is the heaviest element our Sun can make?



    Thanks

    OB


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  3. #2  
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    iron i think. though maybe due to quantum effects small amounts of heavier elements may be produced. but that is just a guess from a layman.


    Gere likes this.
    Sometimes it is better not knowing than having an answer that may be wrong.
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  4. #3  
    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    I think you're right Chris...just a layman too...but if remember correctly suns can make stuff as heavy as lithium, any heavier requires a super nova.
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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    Stellar nucleosynthesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Above describes how elements are made. Supernovae are part of the answer, but not all of it.
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  6. #5  
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    please tell me if im correct or incorrect.. is it uranium?
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  7. #6  
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    ah ok.. but why do we have uranium? naturally occurring in our planet. it comes from? what?
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    ok.. that is also my idea... uranium was formed "after" the sun was formed.. and it was formed in a supernova of a "bigger" star.. because the size of the sun is to small to create uranium.. thank you for the info though..
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    (deleted...off topic)
    Last edited by MacGyver1968; September 14th, 2013 at 08:58 AM.
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    ok.. im sorry. yess.. its "before".. i dont know what am i thinking.... ok.. the cloud of gas that was knocked off by the supernova.. yes.. and that is also the reason why rocky planets revolve around the sun and gas planets are farther?
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    what i mean, rocky planets are nearer than gas planets..
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  12. #11  
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    and may I have another question? in plasma physics? why does the temperature difference between the surface of the sun and its center are a bit large?
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    NASA/Marshall Solar Physics

    This gives a description of the temperature distribution within the sun.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Bachelors Degree One beer's Avatar
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    Since no-one seems to know, (I thought this was a science forum?), I made other inquiries. Apparently our sun can probably produce elements up to silicon. It is not hot enough, nor is there enough internal pressure to create anything heavier.

    In the fusion reaction in stars of sufficient size; creating anything up to iron releases energy. Above iron, energy is needed to be taken from the star to create heavier elements. This 'energy grab' causes the star to collapse and the outer layers explode in a supernova. This massive release of energy in the shock wave is apparently what creates the heavier elements.

    Sorry, I can't remember the reference now, but I just Googled it, as you do.

    OB
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    I have no idea!
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    Quote Originally Posted by miguel_24 View Post
    ok.. that is also my idea... uranium was formed "after" the sun was formed.. and it was formed in a supernova of a "bigger" star.. because the size of the sun is to small to create uranium.. thank you for the info though..
    No, it was probably formed before the sun did from old supernovas. The larger a star is, the faster it burns through it's fuel and has a chance to go supernova if it is massive enough. WHile our star can last around 10 billion years (if I am not mistaken), very large stars burn themselves out in millions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by One beer View Post
    Apparently our sun can probably produce elements up to silicon. OB
    Nope. Iron as someone wrote already.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gere View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by One beer View Post
    Apparently our sun can probably produce elements up to silicon. OB
    Nope. Iron as someone wrote already.
    No, our sun isn't large enough and hot enough to produce iron. All nucleosynthesis ends with iron. Everything produced past iron is created in supernova.
    OUr sun uses a proton-proton reaction to fuse hydrogen to helium. That's all it does. Any heavier elements were there to begin with.
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    I would suggest that oxygen is the heaviest element that the Sun can produce or will ever produce.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Everything produced past iron is created in supernova.
    There's also a neutron capture mechanism taking place in larger stars, the s-process, that can produce trans-Fe elements. We don't need supernovae for that to occur. I'm not expert, but that's my understanding. For those elements to "seed" the next generation, a supernova is certainly helpful however.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gere View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by One beer View Post
    Apparently our sun can probably produce elements up to silicon. OB
    Nope. Iron as someone wrote already.
    No, our sun isn't large enough and hot enough to produce iron. All nucleosynthesis ends with iron. Everything produced past iron is created in supernova.
    OUr sun uses a proton-proton reaction to fuse hydrogen to helium. That's all it does. Any heavier elements were there to begin with.
    Oh, my bad. Didn`t read properly.
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