What is the Sun Made of?


The main ingredients of the Sun are helium, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. All of these ingredients are present in varying amounts. Here are some facts that might help you understand their composition. The following list is not exhaustive and is not a comprehensive list. You can always ask your teacher or a physicist if you have any questions.


The Sun is made of a mixture of hydrogen and helium. In its core, hydrogen is fused to form helium. About 600 million tons of hydrogen are fused every second, yielding 596 million tons of helium. Of these, about four million tons are converted into energy, making the Sun brighter. The energy comes in the form of gamma rays and X-rays. These rays travel to the surface over centuries. They are then absorbed by other atoms and re-radiated at different wavelengths.

The Sun burns the helium in its core 100 times faster than the hydrogen, so it can’t achieve carbon-carbon fusion. After about 100 million years, the Sun will become a red giant and eventually burn through its fuel supply.


We may not know it, but the Sun is made of carbon. The Sun comprises a dense core of carbon and oxygen and an outer layer of hydrogen and helium. While these are the main components of the solar atmosphere, the Sun also contains some other elements, such as neon and helium. The Sun is made up of different amounts of these elements, so its composition changes over time.

Helium and hydrogen make up most of the Sun’s mass, while carbon and nitrogen make up just over a fifth of the Sun’s mass. Other elements make up the rest of the Sun, including trace amounts of magnesium and sulphur.


There are two theories about why the Sun is made of nitrogen. One is that it comes from comets. As a result, the Sun’s atmosphere has much more nitrogen than our planet. The other is that the Sun was a hot, gas-filled ball that absorbed nitrogen from outside. Either way, it’s a good question that deserves further study.

It has been estimated that the Sun consists of 88 per cent nitrogen, helium, and carbon. The remaining 15 per cent is oxygen and nitrogen. In addition, there are traces of other elements, including neon, sulphur, and magnesium. The abundance of these elements is calculated by counting their mass.


The Sun comprises four common heavy elements: hydrogen, helium, carbon and oxygen. Each element has its mass and relative abundance. Hydrogen atoms make up about 70 per cent of the Sun’s mass. The rest comprises elements, including carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and neon. Each element contains trace amounts of another element, such as nitrogen, magnesium or sulphur. The mass of an element is proportional to its relative abundance.

The Sun’s spectral spectrum can offer clues about the Sun’s composition. Each element absorbs specific colours in the spectrum and leaves dark spectral lines. The strength of these lines tells us how abundant that element is in the Sun. For example, the H and K lines come from calcium and sodium, while the red C line comes from hydrogen. Oxygen’s spectral lines are harder to interpret.

Other elements

The Sun is mainly made of hydrogen and helium, but there are some heavier elements in the Sun. These come from previous generations of massive stars and supernova explosions. These elements make up about 1% of the “dirt” in the Sun. Therefore, the abundances of the elements below are given as a percentage of the Sun’s mass relative to the rest of the “dirt.” The abundances are also given in millionths of a per cent.

The Sun was created from a molecular cloud composed of hydrogen and helium. This gas cloud began to compress after a nearby supernova emitted a shockwave. The gravitational pull caused some regions to collapse, and they began to rotate and heat up. However, hydrogen and helium remained in the centre of this rotating mass, where they began nuclear fusion.

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