Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

What elements make up the Sun?

What elements make up the Sun (eg. iron oxygen....etc)?

The predominant element in the Sun is hydrogen, and then helium: by mass, it is 70% hydrogen, 28% helium, 1.5% carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, and 0.5% all other elements. We expect stars of the Sun's size to be composed mainly of hydrogen and helium since these are the elements formed shortly after the Big Bang, whereas all other elements are made during a star's life or death. More interestingly, we know that the Sun is not big enough to make the 0.5% "other" elements for itself: this means that the Sun is not a first generation star but formed in a region where more massive, violent stars once lived.

June 2002, Kristine Spekkens (more by Kristine Spekkens) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about The Sun: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

This page has been accessed 108353 times since September 23, 2002.
Last modified: June 4, 2003 9:25:40 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)