Monday, March 28, 2011

How did our sun get born? An open question to @ProfBrianCox

I still have one burning question after watching wonders of the universe, which is: how did OUR sun get born? In the third episode, you explained how the elements were formed in progressively larger stars in a cycle of fusion, expansion, exhaustion, contraction and re-ignition. Iron is finally produced in the death throes when all the available fuel is spent, thereby allowing gravity to do its work. Since, according to NASA, our sun is made up of fractions of a percent of iron and other elements, excluding hydrogen and helium, it must therefore have been produced from the matter of a dying giant star. Is that correct so far? If so, and all of the hydrogen and helium were expended, how or where did our sun acquire new fuel and ignition for further fusion?

Furthermore, iron appears in the first third of the periodic table of elements, so how did the heavier elements get produced after the death of the star?

OK I admit, strictly it's more than one question, but they all address the same issue. Cool programme by the way, it's only a shame that we can't get the iPlayer in the Netherlands which means I can't get to see Wonders of the solar system until it repeats or gets sent out over here. Or is the DVD already out?

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