All stars derive their energy through the thermonuclear fusion of light elements in to heavy elements. High temperatures are required so that the mutual electrostatic repulsion of the protons in each fusing atomic nucleus is overcome. This requires a high velocity collsion which can only be achieved under conditions of high temperature. The minimum temperature require for the fusion of Hydgrogen is 5 million degrees. Elements with more protons in their nuclei require higher temperatures. For instance, to fuse Carbon requires a temperature of about 1 billion degrees.

This sequence is now shown in the animation below. Refer to the legend below for all the animations:

Hydrogen To Helium via the Proton-Proton Chain:

Hydrogen to Helium via the CNO cycle

Helium to Carbon:


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