What Gases Are Most Abundant in the Solar System?

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Gases that are most abundant in he solar system include hydrogen, among others. Find out what gases are most abundant in the solar system with help from an astrophysics professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Moons & Planets
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Hi, my name is Eylene Pirez and I'm an Astrophysicist and this is, "What gases are most abundant in the solar system?" So, first let's talk about what are the biggest components of the solar system because these are going to contain the most abundant element. And we can kind of look at the ratio what they have and that's probably going to be a very good reflection of the actual fraction of chemicals in the solar system. So, the biggest component of the solar system is the sun and what is the sun made out of? Well, the sun is, is a hydrogen ball; so, it's mostly made out of hydrogen about 90 percent and then it's producing helium. So, the second component is helium, but it's very much dominated by hydrogen. So, let's look at the second component, the second largest component in the solar system, and that's Jupiter. Now, what is Jupiter made out of? It's about 80 percent hydrogen and about 15 percent helium. So, as you can see, the largest components in the solar system have pretty much the exact same fractions. Most of them are made out of hydrogen and then a little, the remainder is mostly helium. When you start going down in sizes, you realize that the gas giants and the sun can contribute to the biggest part of the solar system. The terrestial planets are very small and they are the ones that have the heavy elements, but, because the mass of the terrestial planets is so small compared to the mass of the gas giants and the stars, the percentage of heavy elements in our solar system is really very very low. So, the main gases of our solar system are hydrogen and helium. My name is Eylene Pirez and I'm an Astrophysicist and hydrogen and helium are the most abundant gases in the solar system.

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