Helium in the Universe

Helium (He) plays an exceptionally large role in the universe since the sun is composed of twenty-five percent of it; the other seventy-five percent is hydrogen. Helium is second only to hydrogen in being the lightest and most plentiful of all chemicals. Actually, the sun is nothing more than a star that has within its core masses of helium and bands of swirling hydrogen. The core of the sun is formed by helium since it  a little heavier.

Helium is formed as by-product of radioactivity, i.e., where rays emit energy. That is another way of saying that helium is produced by the left over activity of the pulsating and emission of heat from the interaction of nuclear fusion. This is the quality that gives the stars their brilliant color and enables them to be seen.

Unlike hydrogen, however, helium does not mix with other chemicals and form compounds. In one of its many uses,  it is used as a coolant since it has the lowest freezing point and the lowest boiling point of all chemicals. It is not easily detected on earth. And when it is released on earth, as a by-product of petroleum,  it immeidately escapes and floats skyward.

Where is found on earth, in crusts such as rocks and fossils and fossil fuel, it is trapped there, having been forced into these holding areas by the intense activity of the hydrogen atoms. It is trapped there as something apart, never becoming part of the surrounding chemical elements. Therefore, in its use it is as a protector, as a process enhancer, as a means of bringing about better actions, but never as the energy source behind the activity in itself.

For utilization, processing plants must immediately harness it if they are to successfully use it for their various commercial enterprises. A few of these are as coolants for  refrigeration, enhancedments in magnetic imaging systems (MRI), in deep sea diving businesses, for the filling of balloons, and in leak detecting and in welding operations. And of course, it is a necessity in the aero-space industry.

Difficult to find on earth because of its tasteless, odorless and colorless quality. It was first seen astronomically in 1868 through a spectroscope at a solar eclipse in India by Janssen, a French astronomer. He noticed a second yellow line next to the sodium D yellow line. The second line had not been observed before. Yet, this discovery brought only questions about what it was, if it was found on earth and how plentiful it was.

These questions were not answered until 1894, when another Englishman, Sir William Ramsey, discovered it while working with cleveite, a uranium mineral. Uranium is always radioactive, i.e., giving off rays and helium is a by product of this activity. It is named for the sun. Helios being the name of the Greek sun god.

The atmosphere is composed of only a tiny amount of helium and only seven percent of natural gas. This is so because of its light weight which naturally propels it upward. Another interesting way in which it is beneficial to science is its use in helium dating. This is determining how old a rock or a fossil is by the amount of helium found in the specimens.

In older rocks, as an example, more helium will be found since it increases continually. This is based on the helium found after the radioactivity between uranium and thorium. Not all rocks and fossils have this capability, however. Most geological dating is done by carbon dating.

The most logical question one could ask is how did helium get to be a big portion of the sun if it was formed from the interaction, or the burning up of radioactivity? Further research will show that inside the sun hydrogen atoms collide with each other and the result of these collisions is the formation of helium.

Helium, being heavier than hydrogen naturally forms the heavier core while the hydrogen atoms keeps on heating up and moving toward the gravitational force that attracts it and then cooling down and forming helium. The whole process by which it is kept together is an interesting one. And again, it has everything to do with entrapment, quite an ordinary means of being help in place.
An example is a star. It is only a bunch of debris from the atmosphere clouds that form itself into masses that get intertwined into pulsating little hot balls of fire, despite its otherwise appearance.  The mass of debris itself acts as the gravity force. The gases are trapped inside and the ferocious activity keeps it giving off energy where it keeps on supplying the earth with the warmth of the sun, as one example.