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For years, scientists have assumed that the sun is an enormous mass of hydrogen. But in a poster presentation to be delivered July 21-26 at the Meteoritical Society's annual meeting in Los Angeles, Dr. Oliver Manuel says iron, not hydrogen, is the sun's most abundant element.
Manuel, a professor of nuclear chemistry at the University of Missouri-Rolla, claims that hydrogen fusion creates some of the sun's heat, as hydrogen -- the lightest of all elements -- moves to the sun's surface. But most of the heat comes from the core of an exploded supernova that continues to generate energy within the iron-rich interior of the sun, Manuel says.
"We think that the solar system came from a single star, and the sun formed on a collapsed supernova core," Manuel says. "The inner planets are made mostly of matter produced in the inner part of that star, and the outer planets of material form the outer layers of that star." Continued
Originally posted by menguard
How do we know what the sun is made of unless we have taken sample's from it?
Originally posted by Amorymeltzer
berglion is absolutely right, if there was Iron there we'd have about 8 minutes left to enjoy the sun.
Originally posted by grad_student
In a similar vein, how does our Earth have the distributions of atoms heavier than iron (such as uranium) that it does? Is it merely a product of trapped atoms from some previous supernovae, or is it an early stage planetary evolution phase when things were alot hotter and Earth was fusing atoms, only then it cooled to a planet instead of becoming a sun, etc.