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How the sun shines?

Mass : 2 10^30 kg Luminosity : 4x10^26 Watt = 4x10^33 ergs/sec Age of earth :5000 Millions years--->~ Age of sun Radiation: 6 x 10^43 J in 5 x10^9 years Expected energy: 3 x 10^3 J/kg

Sun burning
We try to find out which process comparatively matches to keep the Sun burning for 5x 10^9 years without collapsing.

Let us consider the burning of coal as example. Burning 1 gm of coal releases

Life time t = Therefore this process is ignored.

E=
15

ergs
17

Life time t = 10 sec = 10 years Still too short!!

Mass defect
In fusion reactions light elements are transformed into heavier ones. Final reaction products have a smaller total mass than the initial nuclei. Einstein's famous equation 2 E = mc expresses mass-energy equivalence & gives the energy released from the mass difference. The mass of the nucleus is smaller than the sum of the masses of its nucleons-Binding Energy.

pp chain
In stars of masses ~sun or smaller, energy is generated by pp chain.
1 1 1 2 H +1 H 1 H + e + +e

p+p d + e+ + e 2 1 3 H +1 H 2 He + 1 d+p 3He


3 2 3 4 1 He+2 He2 He +21 H

3He+3He 4He + 2p

4 H He + 2e + 2 e + 2
1 1 4 2

The neutrino produces escapes the sun with an energy 0.26Mev each.

!neglecting mass of electron, photon, neutrino

Requirement for pp reaction


Lots of protons (H nuclei) A High Temperature 10^7K pp fusion is efficient enough to power the Sun for billions of years. Note:Quantum tunneling Fusion vs Fission
Schematic representation of PE barrier experienced by an atomic nucleus approaching another.

For each reaction (3), tha reactions (1) & (2) have to take place twice. Reaction (1) has a very low probability, 1 reaction in 10^10 years inside Sun. Otherwise, sun would have burnt out long ago. Step 2 is much faster compared to reaction (1).

Abundance of Deutorium is small in sun. The last reaction of ppI can take 2 other routes also,

pp II chain
Alternatively (3rd step), 3He produced in ppI can react with 4He directly.
3 2 7 4 7 3

He+ He Be +
4 2 7 4

Be + e Li + e
7 3

Li + 11H 2 24He

In the Sun, this reaction occurs 31% of the time; ppI occurs 69% of the time.

Pp III chain
Much more rare form of fusion occurs only 0.093% of the time in the sun. After step 1 of ppII,
7 4

Be+ H B +
1 1 8 5 8 5

B Be + e + e
8 4 8 4

Be 2 He
4 2

Energy generation in pp chains


PpI = 24.64 MeV ppII = 25.65 MeV ppIII= 24.62MeV

CNO cycle
There is, however, one more process - the CNO cycle, thought to be responsible for the production of about 1% of the energy of the Sun. This fusion reaction cycle is characteristic to stars more massive and of higher temperatures then the Sun. Here carbon act as catalysts.
12 6 1 C +1 H 13N + 7 13 7 13 6 14 7

N 13C + e + + e 6

1 C +1 H 14 N + 7

1 N +1 H 15O + 8 15 8

O15N + e + + e 7

15 7

1 4 N +1 H 12 C + 2 He 6

Mostly in massive stars.