Astronomy
Physics
Atoms and Atomic Structure
Nuclear Fusion

Do stars give off light as a part of a nuclear fusion reaction in which helium atoms are split into hydrogen atoms?

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Answer

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Wiki User
06/23/2008

No. In a fusion reaction, a heavier element is made of a lighter pair by "gluing" them together in a fusion reaction. When we split an atom, that's called atom splitting, or sometimes fission, not fusion. They are opposites. Stars give off light, but the primary fuel in their fusion engines is hydrogen, which they convert into helium. As the hydrogen burns out, the star begins making helium into carbon.