The Atomic Model

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Scientists believe that stars are made of mostly gas, and this gas is made up of many atoms. In the star, the atoms in the gas bang into each other and give off different light depending on the type of atoms. This light from stars enables scientists to figure out the type and amount of atoms they are made of. Knowing the composition of the stars, we can guess how they were formed. Therefore we can see that stars are just atoms (hydrogen) hitting each other producing light. Scientists know what stars are made of through the use of the atomic model, spectral lines and quantum mechanics.

The atomic model is critical to understand what stars are made of. Matter is comprised of atoms, which are particles made up of electrons, protons and neutrons.
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This theory says that in order for an electron to orbit the nucleus of an atom, the number of wavelengths that it takes to get around must be quantized; meaning an integer number. Atoms have different energy states each with a specific energy. Photons (basic units of light) interact with electrons by giving or taking away energy. A photon with correct energy and wavelength hits an atom’s electrons, allowing the electrons to jump to a higher energy states which makes the electron “excited”. When a photon is emitted the atom drops to a lower energy state because without the energy of the photon, the electron becomes …show more content…
Fusion is when two atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus which results in the release of many photons. The photons released are the light that we see. The light produced in this reaction can have any wavelength. In the case of stars, a reaction of deuterium (basic nuclei) and hydrogen (basic atom) produce a helium atom with a photon which is seen as the main source of the illumination of the star. In the end, we are able to see that stars are made up of atoms through the use of spectral lines and our knowledge of fusion. When a telescope with a spectrograph (a device that breaks light into a spectrum of color much like a prism) is pointed directly at a star, we are able to see black lines in the spectrum, which represent the absorption of photons. Scientists are able to determine what atoms the stars are made of by comparing the spectrums that we see from atoms here on earth. They know that the absorption spectrum of stars looks exactly like the absorption spectrum of hydrogen. With this information, they are able to determine that stars are made of mostly hydrogen.

In order to understand the composition of stars, we look at the spectral lines of the atoms outside the star. From the lines in the spectrograph, we are able to find out how much of each and what kind of atoms there are in the stars. Through electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and the atomic model, we are able to see that stars are made primarily

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