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How can I avoid cer­tain death, but in a rig­or­ously sci­en­tific way?

Science Illustrated - - CONTENTS -

At the cen­tre of the Sun – from the cen­tre and ¼ of the way to­wards the sur­face – the tem­per­a­ture is up to 15 mil­lion de­grees and the pres­sure so huge that hy­dro­gen atomic nu­clei can fuse. Of­ten, the hy­dro­gen nu­clei will just pass by one another, but some­times, they fuse to gen­er­ate en­ergy.

Hy­dro­gen is the most com­mon el­e­ment of the uni­verse and also the most sim­ple one, as the nu­cleus only con­tains one pro­ton. In the Sun’s in­te­rior, pro­tons col­lide, re­sult­ing in nu­clei from the sec­ond most com­mon el­e­ment in the uni­verse: he­lium.

But it's not that sim­ple, when four pro­tons form into a he­lium nu­cleus made up of two pro­tons and two neu­trons. The fu­sion process re­quires sev­eral stages and is not very ef­fi­cient. Luck­ily, this means that the Sun can burn for a long time. Our star has been shin­ing for 4.6 bil­lion years and can burn for another cou­ple of bil­lion years.

Only at the cen­tre of the Sun, the tem­per­a­ture reaches the 10-15 mil­lion de­grees re­quired for hy­dro­gen to fuse with he­lium.

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