element connections


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Your Cosmic Connection to the Elements: 

Your Cosmic Connection to the Elements James Lochner (USRA) andamp; Suzanne Pleau Kinnison (AESP), NASA/GSFC

Elementary Connections: 

Elementary Connections

The Big Bang: 

The Big Bang

The Big Bang Cosmology: 

The Big Bang Cosmology The expansion of the universe began at a finite time in the past, in a state of enormous density, pressure and temperature. 'Big Bang' is a highly successful family of theories with no obvious competitor. Explains what we see, and has made several successful predictions.

Big Bang Nucleosynthesis: 

Big Bang Nucleosynthesis Within first three minutes, Hydrogen andamp; Helium formed. At t =1 s, T=10,000,000,000 K: soup of particles: photons, electrons, positrons, protons, neutrons. Particles created andamp; destroyed. At t =3 min, T=1,000,000,000 K: p+n =andgt; D D + D =andgt; He

Small Stars: 

Small Stars

Small Stars: Fusion of light elements: 

Small Stars: Fusion of light elements Fusion: (at 15 million degrees !) 4 (1H) =andgt; 4He + 2 e+ + 2 neutrinos + energy Where does the energy come from ? Mass of four 1H andgt; Mass of one 4He E = mc2

Small Stars to Red Giants : 

Small Stars to Red Giants After Hydrogen is exhausted in core, Energy released from nuclear fusion no longer counter-acts inward force of gravity. Core collapses, Kinetic energy of collapse converted into heat. This heat expands the outer layers. Meanwhile, as core collapses, Increasing Temperature and Pressure ...

Beginning of Heavier Elements: 

Beginning of Heavier Elements At 100 million degrees Celsius, Helium fuses: 3 (4He) =andgt; 12C + energy After Helium exhausted, small star not large enough to attain temperatures necessary to fuse Carbon.

Large Stars: 

Large Stars

Heavy Elements from Large Stars: 

Heavy Elements from Large Stars Large stars also fuse Hydrogen into Helium, and Helium into Carbon. But their larger masses lead to higher temperatures, which allow fusion of Carbon into Magnesium, etc.

Element Formation through Fusion: 

Element Formation through Fusion




Supernova Fusion of Iron takes energy, rather than releases energy. So fusion stops at Iron. Energy released from nuclear fusion no longer counter-acts inward force of gravity. But now there is nothing to stop gravity. Massive star ends its life in supernova explosion.


Supernova Explosive power of a supernova: Disperses elements created in large stars. Creates new elements, especially those heavier than Iron.

Cosmic Rays: 

Cosmic Rays

Cosmic Rays: 

Cosmic Rays Lithium, Beryllium, and Boron are difficult to produce in stars. (L, Be, and B are formed in the fusion chains, but they are unstable at high temperatures, and tend to break up into residues of He, which are very stable). So what is the origin of these rare elements? =andgt; Collisions of Cosmic Rays with Hydrogen andamp; Helium in interstellar space.

Cosmic Rays Collisions with ISM: 

Cosmic Rays Collisions with ISM Lithium, beryllium, and boron and sub-iron enhancements attributed to nuclear fragmentation of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and iron with interstellar matter (primarily hydrogen and helium). (CNO or Fe) + (H andamp; He)ISM  (LiBeB or sub-Fe)

Cosmic Elements: 

Cosmic Elements White - Big Bang Pink - Cosmic Rays Yellow - Small Stars Green - Large Stars Blue - Supernovae

Your Cosmic Connection to the Elements?: 

Your Cosmic Connection to the Elements?

Composition of the Universe: 

Composition of the Universe Actually, this is just the solar system. Composition varies from place to place in universe, and between different objects.

“What’s Out There?”: 

'What’s Out There?' A classroom activity that demonstrates the different elemental compositions of different objects in the universe. Demonstrates how we estimate the abundances. (Developed by Stacie Kreitman, Falls Church, VA)

Top 10 Elements in the Human Body: 

Top 10 Elements in the Human Body Element by # atoms 10. Magnesium (Mg) 0.03% 9. Chlorine (Cl) 0.04% 8. Sodium (Na) 0.06% 7. Sulfur (S) 0.06% 6. Phosphorous (P) 0.20% 5. Calcium (Ca) 0.24% 4. Nitrogen (N) 1.48% 3. Carbon (C) 9.99% 2. Oxygen (O) 26.33% 1. Hydrogen (H) 61.56%

Spectral Analysis: 

Spectral Analysis We can’t always get a sample of a piece of the Universe. So we depend on light !

Spectral Analysis: 

Spectral Analysis Each element has a unique spectral signature: Determined by arrangement of electrons. Lines of emission or absorption arise from re-arrangement of electrons into different energy levels.

Nickel-odeon Classroom Activity: 

Nickel-odeon Classroom Activity Spread a rainbow of color across a piano keyboard (Developed by Shirley Burris, Nova Scotia)

More Musical Elements: 

More Musical Elements Now play another element

Getting a Handle on Water: 

Getting a Handle on Water All together now ... Water

Your Cosmic Connection to the Elements?: 

Your Cosmic Connection to the Elements? http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/teachers/elements/

Cosmic Connections: 

Cosmic Connections To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. Carl Sagan

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