How Does A Star Produce Energy?

How does a star produce energy? The short answer: nuclear fusion.

Without nuclear fusion there would be no life on earth.

It is the nuclear fusion which provides the sun and other stars of the universe with energy and makes them shine.

For billions of years the fusion of atoms has been an everyday process in the cosmos.

And it is one of the few sources of energy that are almost inexhaustible.

But what happens in stars virtually “by itself” only works under high pressure and enormous temperatures.

Only under these conditions can the atomic nuclei overcome their mutual repulsion and come close enough to fuse with each the “fusion reactor sun” hydrogen is heated to such an extent that it changes into the state of plasma.

This “fourth state of matter” is comparable to a hot, very thin gas, in which the electrons have left their orbit around the atomic nuclei – the atoms cease to be atoms.

Separated, the positive and negative particles move almost at the speed of light, one after the other.

Although, like a magnet, particles with the same charge repel each other, atomic nuclei in the plasma still collide from time to time.

The force of the impact overcomes the repulsion and allows both nuclei to fuse together.

This apparent paradox is made possible by the so-called strong interaction, the strongest known force in the cosmos.

It is this force that holds the parts inside the atomic nuclei together and makes atomic fission so difficult.

Since it only works in the immediate vicinity of the atomic nucleus, it can only cause a fusion if the repulsion of the same charges has been overcome beforehand.

When hydrogen nuclei fuse, new particles are created which release the enormous fusion energy as kinetic energy, among other things.

A single fusion thus generates almost 18 megaelectronvolts.

With the energy supplied by a single small truck with fusion fuel, a fusion power plant could supply a city of 500,000 inhabitants with electricity for a year.

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