What is the source of the sun’s energy? Information about the reactions in the sun and source of sun’s energy.
The Source Of The Sun’s Energy; Scientists have recognized that only one known process, atomic transmutation, is capable of generating sufficient energy to maintain the sun’s output of power. In fact, the first practical investigation into atomic energy was made as part of the attempt to explain the source of solar power.
The sequence of nuclear reactions within the sun was worked out independently in 1938 by the German-American physicist Hans Bethe and the German astronomer Carl von Weizsacker. Two main eyeles of reactions may be described, of which the most important is the proton-proton reaction. In this sequence, protons collide to form hydrogen nuclei, which in turn collide with further protons to produce unstable helium nuclei. The latter react and form stable helium nuclei, at the same time producing more protons and other subatomic particles. The net result of the eyele of proton-proton reactions is that hydrogen is transmuted into helium.
The carbon eyele is more complex but the net result is the same. Nuclei of heavier elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen are involved, but in the end it is the stars hydrogen supplies that are converted into helium. The proton-proton sequence apparently predominates in less massive stars such as the sun.
Thus the sun is a giant thermonuclear furnace that transforms hydrogen into helium, and energy released near the center of the sun continually pushes outward in an efîort to escape. The force of this outward push is offset by the strong gravitational pull of the sun on the gases composing its outer layers.
Most of the sun is in a highly stable confîguration, and mixing of the solar gases is extremely slow. However, just below the apparent surface or photosphere the sun is convectively unstable. That is, it transfers heat in a circulatory process from hotter regions below to cooler regions above. Numerous convective cells in this region keep the gases in the outer layers well mixed.
The convective cells are manifest to telescopes on earth as small, bright granules and larger supergranules covering the “surface” of the sun. Because of their relatively small size and their importance in understanding the structure and interior processes of the sun, the granules present a challenging observational problem.