The Chemistry of the Sun


The Sun is an important part in our daily lives on planet Earth. It provides nearly all energy in our organic ecosystems. I chose it so I can help explain to other people why the Sun is so important to our planet and why we should be consciously aware of how it works.

Composition of ...

The Sun is composed of mainly hydrogen and helium with a few other heavier elements closer to the core. Inside the Sun it is very hot, hot enough to force the protons in the nuclei of atoms to bond and form new heavier elements. The first elements to bond are hydrogen, they fuse together to form helium. Along with a new element heat and light plus lots of other kinds of energy are released. This reaction, called nuclear fusion, is what keeps our planet warm and hospitable for us to live on.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

The Sun’s main reaction is based on the fusion of hydrogen and helium, the two most abundant elements in our sun. However there are a few other heavier elements, such as oxygen, carbon, neon, nitrogen, magnesium, iron and silicon, that are found mainly in the core. As our Sun “burns” it will slowly create more of the heavier elements.

Chemistry's Role

The Sun is not an easily manipulated object because of its heat and distance. We can, however, recreate its process and use it to our advantage. Nuclear plants power much of our world today using nuclear fusion. Plus, in the future we may find other uses for nuclear fusion that are not yet possible, such as, powering spaceships, creating heavier elements than occur in nature, or even heating up atoms to temperatures otherwise unattainable.

Background Research

The Sun produces all its energy from nuclear fusion. When its lightest element, hydrogen, fuses two of its protons together forming helium. This reaction is driven by the intense heat and mass of all the other matter that makes up the Sun. As the hydrogen becomes fused it releases a lot of energy in the form of heat and light, some even in spectrums we cannot observe without special instruments. The sun puts out as much as 3.8 x 10^26 kilojoules per second of energy. The average person eats approximately 8,368 kilojoules of energy per day. We receive enough energy from the Sun every second to feed about 21.5 billion people. That’s a lot of energy!


Explains how the sun works and what it is made of.

Explains nuclear fusion and how hot the Sun is.

Tells what elements the sun is made by mass.

Sums up how much energy the sun releases and how much is captured by Earth.

About the Author

Patrick Harper is a junior at Billings Senior High. He enjoys hanging out with friends, playing xbox, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Patrick is looking forward to the summer months when he can camp, fish and swim.