Star Stuff

Interestingly, the reactions that happen in and around stellar atmospheres are remarkably like the reactions that happen in flames…

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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4 Responses to Star Stuff

  1. invaderxan says:

    Anytime.

  2. underwr1tten says:

    Oh, that makes sense. Thanks :)

  3. invaderxan says:

    Fire is… really difficult to define. Seriously, scientists still argue over what exactly fire is.
    Basically, it’s a self-sustaining gas phase exothermic reaction. The reaction gives out enough energy to split the reacting molecules into a plasma (a flame). In turn, the heat given out by the flame vapourises more of the stuff that’s burning, which feeds the flame. Which is why a candle wick burns very slowly — it’s actually vapourised wax which is creating the flame.
    Fire doesn’t necessarily need oxygen either, it’s just that oxygen is usually the most reactive thing around. In fact, apparently in an atmosphere of fluorine gas, water will burn. :)

  4. underwr1tten says:

    Nice! We just talked about stellar evolution in class today.
    By the way, what exactly is fire? In high school chemistry, I was told it is basically oxygen+whatever is burning.

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