What is the Sun made of?

(by Amara Graps)

Principal Chemical Constituents by number of atoms:

Hydrogen        92.1 %
Helium          7.8 %
Oxygen          0.061 %
Carbon          0.030 %
Nitrogen        0.0084 %
Neon            0.0076 %
Iron            0.0037 %
Silicon         0.0031 %
Magnesium       0.0024 %
Sulfur          0.0015 %

All Others      0.0015 %

The elements other than Hydrogen and Helium are left over from the molecular cloud from which our Sun was born. Most of these heavier elements were produced by an earlier generation of stars that exploded even before the Sun formed.

Right now the Sun is burning Hydrogen and converting it to Helium. When the core of the Sun doesn't have enough hydrogen left (in about 4.5 billion years), it will start burning the Helium that is now in the center. Then the Sun will no longer be a middle aged star, it will become a red giant.

Click here for more information about what will happen to our Sun when it stops burning Hydrogen at its core.

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Special Thanks to A. Graps