Solar-Stellar Power

Solar-Stellar Power - via conversion of mass to energy •...

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Solar/Stellar Power Ultimate process that generates power in sun and stars is thermonuclear fusion Fusion is a process of combining less complex elements to more complex elements Fusion generates power if the total mass of the material you start with is less than change produced Ex: P-P Chain o Fusion reaction in the sun 4p -> 1 He o Mass of He nucleaus is .7% less than the mass of the 4 protons that combine to form the He nucleus o That “lost mass” is converted into energy (E=mc^2) o Energy holds up star; fusion fuel eventually runs out and drives changes in the star Low Mass Star Evolution Main sequence: H fuses to He in core and generates energy
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Unformatted text preview: via conversion of mass to energy • Red Giant: H fuses to He in shell around He core • Helium Core Burning: He fuses to C while H fuses to He in shell • Double Shell burning: H and He both fuse in shells • Planetary nebula leaves behind white dwarf CNO Cycle • Higher mass stars have much higher core temperature • Because of the higher core temp and pressure, high mass main sequence stars fuse H to He at a higher rate via the CNO cycle, using carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen as catalysts • A little different than proton-proton chain used by lower mass stars...
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This note was uploaded on 03/16/2011 for the course ASTRO 2 taught by Professor Corcoran during the Spring '11 term at GWU.

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