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I've heard that electrons are released from the clutches of nuclei in the plasma state that is present in the sun. My question is: Where do these electrons go? Do they go to the product nuclei of the nuclear fusion reaction in sun (ie. He)? Or do they remain on the surface of sun?

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  • $\begingroup$ This almost begs the question - If the deuterium and tridium nuclear reactions each produce a positron, each of those presumably 'react' with an electron, annihilating each other, but the protons of the three hydrogen atoms starting the reaction are still around. Unless there is a source of electrons, wouldn't the positive charge in the sun accumulate from these deuterium, tritium and helium ions that are accumulating? If electrons bind with those helium nuclei to form stable atoms, where did those electrons come from? $\endgroup$ – jediCurmudgeon Jun 9 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't an answer, and should probably be converted to a comment. Regardless, if there are free protons in the solar plasma, the corollary is that there are also free electrons. Sum them up along with all other charged species and you'll find the Sun is electrically neutral to a very high precision. Note that in the diagram, six free electrons are implicit in the left side. Two electrons are annihilated by positrons, leaving four free electrons on the right side, which is exactly enough to neutralise the positive charges. $\endgroup$ – Nicolau Saker Neto Jun 10 at 0:38
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Some of the electrons will react with positrons formed during the fusion processes; they annihilate each other and give off high-energy radiation (also called gamma rays): p-p Solar Fusion Chain Source

But this process happens at the core, and there is no way that those electrons get out to the surface. So my best guess is that the electrons which don't get annihilated just stay there in the core plasma. I do not think that they combine with the $\ce{^{4}_2 He^{2+}}$ particles formed by this chain, because the temperature is still too high. So you start out with 6 protons and 6 electrons (for electrical neutrality reasons), two electrons get annihilated in the process and you end up with a doubly positively charged helium particle and two protons and four electrons. So the electrical neutrality is not violated.

There is not only the core of the sun but also the outer layers and the corona, from where we observe the solar wind, which is a stream of particles, mainly electrons and protons. So there you have some electrons that escape the sun. But these are not the electrons from the core, they come from the surface of the sun.

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  • $\begingroup$ By which process the beryllium nucleus splits up into He and 2 protons. $\endgroup$ – Akshay Nagraj Jan 21 '14 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ It's the process called radioactive decay: $\ce{^6 Be}$ has a half-life of 5.0 zeptoseconds, so it decays very very quickly into two protons and the helium particle. $\endgroup$ – tschoppi Jan 21 '14 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ I know that. Which type of radioactive decay is that? Can you name that decay? all I know is alpha, beta +, beta- and gamma decays. $\endgroup$ – Akshay Nagraj Jan 23 '14 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ Do you even look at the pages I link to? This isotope decays under proton emission (doubly so). Here is a comprehensive list of decay modes. And if you like my answer it would be nice to accept it :) $\endgroup$ – tschoppi Jan 23 '14 at 6:08
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The sun is electrically neutral. It is a roughly 70% hydrogen, 30% helium, and various other stuff as plasma - partially and wholly ionized nuclei in bath of electrons charge neutralizing things overall. That does not change, for charge is conserved.

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