Credit: EQUINOX GRAPHICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Animation of the proton-proton chain reaction that powers the Sun by converting hydrogen to helium. In the Sun's core, it is hot and dense enough that protons (red) can collide and fuse, forming a diproton. One proton then undergoes beta decay, turning into a neutron (yellow) and emitting a positron (orange star) and a neutrino (pink), forming a deuterium nucleus (hydrogen-2). Another proton then fuses with this, forming helium-3 and emitting a gamma ray (yellow wave). When this helium-3 collides with another helium-3, two protons are emitted and a helium-4 nucleus is formed. This nuclear fusion releases the energy that powers the Sun. In more massive stars, a catalytic cycle called the CNO cycle dominates. See clip K003/7243 for that process.

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Keywords: astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, atom, atoms, beta decay, binding energy, core, dense, education, educational, energy, formation, forming, fusing, fusion, gamma ray, heat, helium, hot, hydrogen, ion, ions, neutrino, neutron, nuclear, nuclei, nucleosynthesis, nucleus, particle, particles, photon, positron, power, process, proton, radiation, reaction, solar, space, stellar, sun, sun-like, wave

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Fusion reactions in the Sun

K003/3971 Rights Managed

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Duration: 00:00:32

Frame size: 1920x1080

Frame rate: 25

Audio: No

Format: QuickTime, Photo JPEG 100%, progressive scan, square pixels

File size: 1,013.6M

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Capture format: QuickTime Animation

Codec: None

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