How does the Sun convert its mass into energy according to Einstein’s famous equation E=mc²?

To keep the calculation simple, let’s consider the conversion of 1 kilogram of the Sun’s hydrogen into helium. The conversion produces only 0.993 kilogram of helium. This means the missing 0.007 kilogram of matter or mass is transformed into energy. The equation is E=mc² in which m denotes quantity of mass, c is speed of light equal to 3 x 108 meters or 3,00,000 kilometers per second and E is the joules of energy into which the mass is converted. When you apply Einstein’s mass-energy equation, the energy produced by 0.007 kilogram of matter or mass is equal to E=mc² = (0.007 kg) (3 x 108 m/s)² = 6.3 x 1014 joules which is almost the same as released by burning 20,000 metric tons of coal or 1,06,875 barrels of crude oil.

Every second the Sun converts about 657 million tones of hydrogen into 653 million tons if helium. The remaining 4 million tons of matter is changed into energy.

Another way of understanding how the sun converts its mass into energy lies in understanding the concept of E=mc². The concept of E=mc² explains the relationship between mass and energy. What it means in terms of physics is that both energy and mass are interchangeable. In the equation:

E: Energy

M: Mass

C: Speed of Light

Einstein argues that energy will remain conserved only if the masses are changed. Take an example of earth and the sun. Our planet travels at around 30km/h, which is quite a bit of speed for it to maintain an average distance of 150,000,000 km from the sun. If you compare the weight of the earth and sun individually, you will find out that their weight is equal to the combined earth-sun system. The reason is that whether it is the gravitational force holding a planet to a star or an electric force holding an electron in orbit, the existence of an attractive force will result in the entire system weighing comparatively less than the individual parts.

On the other hand, inside the core of the sun, the temperature could shoot up to 4,000,000K, and the nuclear reactions taking place give our start the power to shine. In such extreme conditions, protons are fused, which results in the formation of the deuteron. While that is happening, neutrino and positron are emitted as well to conserve energy. The additional deuterons and protons bombard the new particle that has just formed, fusing the nuclei in a chain reaction until helium-4 with two protons and neutrons are created. This is a natural phenomenon that takes place in all main-sequence stars and is also the source from where the sun receives its energy.

The equation E=mc² also tells you that you can convert mass into energy. As a result, you will also get a number as to how much energy you will get out of it. If you convert a 1kilogram of mass, you will get 9×10*16 joules of energy, which is massive and equivalent to 21 megatons of TMT. The real essence behind Einstein’s E=mc² is that instead of mass, energy is a fundamental quantity, whereas the mass itself is simply amongst the potential forms of energy. In addition to that, the equation states that energy can be used to create massive particles and matter using nothing but pure energy. For instance, if you smash to billiard balls against each other, you will expect the same results. However, with particles, the situation is something different. If you smash to electrons together, you will get two electrons as a result but with enough energy, which would give rise to a new matter-antimatter pair of particles. Basically, you have created two new particles where they didn’t exist before.

Concluding, since the sun is mostly made up of helium and hydrogen atoms in a state of plasma. It creates energy through the process of nuclear fusion. During the process, due to high temperature and pressure, the core of the sun causes nuclei to separate from their electrons. The process of fusion releases radiant energy, which takes around 8 minutes for it to travel 93 million miles to the earth.