Astronomy quiz question: products of fusion in the sun's core

Astronomy 210 Quiz 7, fall semester 2014
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Fusion reactions in the sun's core produced the:
(A) hydrogen in the sun.
(B) gold and silver in Earth's crust.
(C) heat inside Earth's core.
(D) lithium in car batteries.
(E) (More than one of the above choices.)
(F) (None of the above choices.)

Correct answer (highlight to unhide): (F)

The sun is a medium-mass main sequence star, so it is currently fusing hydrogen into helium in its core.

Hydrogen is merely the raw ingredient of the universe, and was created in the first few moments of the big bang, while lithium was produced by fusion few minutes after the start of the big bang.

Massive stars fuse hydrogen into heavier elements in their cores up through iron, and as a result of undergoing a type II supernova they produce heavier elements than iron, such as gold and silver. These heavy elements from the remnants of a previous generation massive star would then be incorporated into the formation of Earth in the early solar system.

The heat in Earth's core was produced from the conversion of gravitational potential energy during its formation, and also from the radioactive decay of unstable heavy elements (produced by a type II supernova of a previous generation massive star) in its core.

Section 70158
Exam code: quiz07su4R
(A) : 14 students
(B) : 12 students
(C) : 4 students
(D) : 1 student
(E) : 8 students
(F) : 5 students

Success level: 16% (including partial credit for multiple-choice)
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.17

Section 70160
Exam code: quiz07n0Lb
(A) : 8 students
(B) : 7 students
(C) : 1 student
(D) : 1 student
(E) : 4 students
(F) : 10 students

Success level: 35% (including partial credit for multiple-choice)
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.51

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