Another series of nuclear reactions that can produce energy in the interior of stars is the carbon cycle first proposed by Hans Bethe in 1939, leading to his Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967. This cycle is most efficient when the central temperature in a star is above 1.6 x 10^7 K. Because the temperature at the center of the Sun is only 1.5 x 10^7 K, the following cycle produces less than 10% of the Sun’s energy. (a) A high-energy proton is absorbed by 12C. Another nucleus, A, is produced in the reaction, along with a gamma ray. Identify nucleus A. (b) Nucleus A decays through positron emission to form nucleus B. Identify nucleus B. (c) Nucleus B absorbs a proton to produce nucleus C and a gamma ray. Identify nucleus C. (d) Nucleus C absorbs a proton to produce nucleus D and a gamma ray. Identify nucleus D. (e) Nucleus D decays through positron emission to produce nucleus E. Identify nucleus E. (f) Nucleus E absorbs a proton to produce nucleus F plus an alpha particle. Identify nucleus F. (g) What is the significance of the final nucleus in the last step of the cycle outlined in part (f)?

Question

Another series of nuclear reactions that can produce energy in the interior of stars is the carbon cycle first proposed by Hans Bethe in 1939, leading to his Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967. This cycle is most efficient when the central temperature in a star is above 1.6 x 10^7 K. Because the temperature at the center of the Sun is only 1.5 x 10^7 K, the following cycle produces less than 10% of the Sun’s energy.

(a) A high-energy proton is absorbed by 12C. Another nucleus, A, is produced in the reaction, along with a gamma ray. Identify nucleus A.

(b) Nucleus A decays through positron emission to form nucleus B. Identify nucleus B.

(c) Nucleus B absorbs a proton to produce nucleus C and a gamma ray. Identify nucleus C.

(d) Nucleus C absorbs a proton to produce nucleus D and a gamma ray. Identify nucleus D.

(e) Nucleus D decays through positron emission to produce nucleus E. Identify nucleus E.

(f) Nucleus E absorbs a proton to produce nucleus F plus an alpha particle. Identify nucleus F.

(g) What is the significance of the final nucleus in the last step of the cycle outlined in part (f)?

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