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Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.

ExploraTour - How to Build a Star


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All the gory details .....

First two protons collide and form a deuterium nucleus (one proton + one neutron). This is not as simple as it sounds. Only one collision in ten trillion trillion actually produces deuterium. In fact, the average proton must wait some 10 billion years to be part of the proton-proton chain.

During this collision, a positron and a neutrino are released. A positron is the anti-matter equivalent of an electron (an electron with a positive charge). As soon as the positron encounters an electron, the two anihilate one another to form two gamma rays. The neutrino has virtually no mass and passes right through the sun and out into space.

The deuterium nucleus collides with a proton in less than 1 second. The two form a light helium nucleus which is made up of two protons and one neutron. Another gamma ray is released. The gamma rays are carrying away the energy that results from the conversion of mass to energy.

On the average, about a million years ellapses before two light helium nuclei collide to form a regular helium nucleus (made up of 2 protons and 2 neutrons) with the release of two protons.

Final tally: 4 protons --> 1 He nucleus + 6 gamma rays + 2 neutrinos


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Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects (not just people) radiate in the infrared. Warmer objects give off more infrared radiation. Very hot objects radiate other types of light in addition to infrared. Click on the picture...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Your eye is a wonderful detector of visible light. Different frequencies of light produce different sensations in the eye which we interpret as colors. Our eyes detect light by using light sensitive components...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Imagine you found a pair of special glasses that not only gave you telescopic vision but gave you the ability to see all forms of radiant energy. The universe in visible light contains all the familiar...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a picture of a galaxy in visible light. A galaxy is a large number of stars, some like our sun, some bigger, some smaller and all moving together through space. This galaxy is called Centaurus...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a plant in Gary, Indiana where power is made. We use power to run things like television sets, radios, lights, and microwave ovens. The picture looks very strange because it was taken in infrared....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA