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Unformatted text preview: Composition What is the Sun made of? Spectroscopy shows that hydrogen makes up about 94% of the solar material, helium makes up about 6% of the Sun, and all the other elements make up just 0.13% (with oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen the three most abundant ``metals''---they make up 0.11%). In astronomy, any atom heavier than helium is called a ``metal'' atom. The Sun also has traces of neon, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, and iron. The percentages quoted here are by the relative number of atoms. If you use the percentage by mass , you find that hydrogen makes up 78.5% of the Sun's mass, helium 19.7%, oxygen 0.86%, carbon 0.4%, iron 0.14%, and the other elements are 0.54%. The Sun's Interior Here are the parts of the Sun starting from the center and moving outward. Core The core is the innermost 10% of the Sun's mass. It is where the energy from nuclear fusion is generated. Because of the enormous amount of gravity compression from all of the layers above generated....
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.
- Fall '10