This section is part of the HSC Physic syllabus Module 8: From the Universe to the Atom.
Here we will analyse and apply Einstein’s description of the equivalence of energy and mass and relate this to the nuclear reactions that occur in stars.
Nuclear fusions powering the sun
We know that nuclear fusion can make helium nuclei from protons and it converts mass to energy. This is the source of all the energy so generously radiated by the Sun.
Now let’s account for the production of emission and absorption spectra and compare these with a continuous black body spectrum.
Emission and absorption spectra
Absorption spectra are what you get when you shine light through a gas, and the energy is absorbed.
Emission spectra are the phenomenon that occurs when gas is heated. The electrons in the atoms absorb the heat energy, allowing them to jump into higher energy levels.