A galaxy seems to rise like a sun through a natural sandstone arch in this digital composite. The galaxy is M31, the Great Galaxy in Andromeda. The image of the Andromeda Galaxy was taken using a Cassegrain 14.5" at f/8. --- Image by © Tony Hallas/Science Faction/Corbis

Thermonuclear synthesis in the bowels of stars – is it a reality or a myth?

Stars and galaxies

Modern science claims that thermonuclear fusion is taking place in the bowels of the Sun and other stars. But is it?

1. The theory of stellar evolution is a consequence of incompetence?

Not so long ago the Russian publishing house “Physical and mathematical literature” began to publish a series of books “Astronomy and Astrophysics”. The series is quite interesting and informative. And here is what I read at the very beginning of the third book called “Star” (see photo of the page 3 and 4):


 Here is the translation of the lines underlined in red:

“The greatest achievement of the 20th century, no doubt, was the physics of the stars”

“Of course, the question did not come from the naturalists: the military needed the theory of nuclear reactions and powerful computers. In fact, the creators of nuclear bombs became the fathers of the theory of the stars evolution. There is no point in denying that the physics of the stars is the child of an atomic bomb.”

So, in the second half of the twentieth century, governments of many countries allocated very large sums of money for the creation of a thermonuclear reactor. The atomic and hydrogen bombs have already been created. The way from an atomic bomb to an atomic reactor has already been done. It remained to go from the hydrogen bomb to the thermonuclear reactor. This topic was discussed in the media. The goal was to light the analogue of the Sun on the Earth, and thus once and for all solve the problem of lack of energy.

An army of nuclear physicists from different countries was activated to solve this problem. They got the most high-speed computers at their disposal. They got the best laboratories equipped with the most modern equipment. They received financial support to implement any of the most daring projects. They had the opportunity to notify the whole world about their achievements, publishing them in the most prestigious scientific journals. Especially for them, new scientific journals were created.

Have they solved the task? No, they did not.

They did not even come close to resolving it. Even now it is still very far to create a thermonuclear reactor.

Why were they going to solve the problem?

Did they not understand how difficult it is? Were they incompetent specialists?

May be they deliberately deceived their sponsors? This is even worse – this is criminal liability.

Has any of the leaders of these projects been held liable? I did not hear anything about it. All of them remained respected scientists: they retained their posts and salaries.

So, what we have? Nuclear physicists did not decide the task for which money computers, laboratories, a place in scientific journals, were allocated.

But! Here it is an important “but”. Instead, they built a theory of stellar evolution. They had the best computers, laboratories, where they conducted nuclear reactions, and the opportunity to publish their research in the best scientific journals.

In this connection, a simple thought occurred to me. If these scientists did not solve the problem for which they were hired, then is it worth them to believe in something else? Maybe the theory of stellar evolution is a consequence of their incompetence. They did not understand that they could not solve one task, and, accordingly, they could not understand that they had solved wrong another one.

So far this is only an assumption. In this regard, I suggest questions to the readers:

1. What are the arguments that hydrogen turns into helium on the Sun?

2. Where does this come from that the Sun consists mainly of hydrogen?

3. Did the creators of stellar evolution make any non-trivial prediction?

2. I never doubted this

Probably everyone read or heard that thermonuclear reactions are taking place in the bowels of the stars. I also read about it and was sure of it. Perhaps I obtained the confidence from the authors of the texts. Even when it was established that the flux of solar neutrinos was 3 times (or even more) less than the calculated flux, I had no doubt in thermonuclear fusion. Now it seems strange to me. When the problem of solar neutrinos was solved at the beginning of the 21st century, I had my first doubts. More precisely, I did not like the haste (and inappropriate jubilation) with which scientists closed the problem.

Approximately 7 – 8 years ago I received some rigorous conclusions from my studies, which clearly contradicted the fact that the bowels of stars consist mainly of hydrogen. Only after that I decided to get acquainted with the history of the issue. I wanted to get to the bottom of the truth and find out whether the arguments are correct and strong in favor of hydrogen and thermonuclear reactions. While I was reading Simon Mitton’s book “Daytime Star. The Story of Our Sun”. I knew this astronomer from the book about galaxies, and I really liked that he, unlike other authors, did not “filter” observational data to please some theories, he wrote everything. I learned from the book that the reaction of conversion of hydrogen into helium was never observed in the laboratory.


I experienced a shock because I was sure that the reaction of the conversion of hydrogen into helium is well known to scientists. Yes, they cannot “ignite” the Sun on the Earth, but it will not be difficult for them to convert two protons into deuterium, having pushed them on an accelerator. The matter is only how the conditions in the bowels of stars are suitable for such reactions and whether there is enough hydrogen there. It turns out, the reaction of conversion of hydrogen into helium is HYPOTHETICAL. It is still unknown it can go or not.

Simon Mitton did not get it wrong?

I took the book “Nobel Prize winners in physics”, opened the lecture of Hans Bethe “Sources of the energy of the stars”, and here is what I read about the reaction of the synthesis of deuterium from two protons:


Here is the translation of the last paragraph:

“This result is obtained purely theoretically using the known coupling constant for beta decay; it is considered that the value is determined to within 5 percent or even better. There is no chance to observe such a slow reaction on the Earth… “

3. We are taught that everything consists of hydrogen

When I came to the conclusion that the bowels of stars do not consist mainly of hydrogen and helium, I was interested in why astrophysicists are sure that the bowels of stars (at least young ones) consist mainly of hydrogen and helium. What arguments led the scientists to believe it?

To find out, I began to study the history of the matter and learned the following. Approximately until the 20s of the twentieth century, astrophysicists were sure that the bowels of the stars and the Sun consist mainly of heavy elements. Then the American astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposhkin began to argue that the stars consist mainly of hydrogen. First famous astronomers, for example, Henry Ressel, it was ridiculed. Here I am not surprised at all, as scientific experts always ridicule new directions (this property of scientists can be effectively used to choose the right scientific policy). But then, approximately in the 30s – 40s of the XX century, specialists and the broad scientific community believed that the stars consist mainly of hydrogen.

Here are the arguments in favor of hydrogen.

Thanks to advances in experimental and theoretical spectroscopy, it was found that the atmosphere of the Sun consists mainly of hydrogen and helium (it is several times less). I fully agree with this. From what do the bowels of the Sun consist of?

Here theorists raise the following question: are different layers of the Sun and other stars mixed together? When calculating models of the evolution of stars, is it necessary to take into account the mixing of internal and external layers? Or can this mixing be neglected?

It is clear that it will be much easier for theorists to solve these problems if the layers are not practically mixed.

As you know, stars are formed by thickening gas-dust clouds. Therefore, the average composition of young stars should coincide with the average composition of the clouds.


Payne-Gaposhkina investigated the composition of young stars and the surrounding gas clouds (the Orion Nebula and others) and found out that the atmospheres of stars coincide in composition with the clouds of the surrounding gas. This means that the interiors of the stars coincide in composition with their atmospheres.

Since in the bowels of stars thermonuclear reactions are going on, then for a billion years their composition varies greatly. Is there any mixing of the inner and outer layers? No, it does not. The atmosphere of the Sun will coincide in composition with the atmospheres of young stars and with clouds of interstellar gas. Other middle-aged stars on the main sequence also have the same composition of atmospheres.

So, the Sun and the young stars consist mainly of hydrogen. At the same time, the atmosphere of these stars coincides in composition with their bowels. As evolution evolves, the composition of the interior changes, but the atmospheres of stars retain their original composition.

4. The third is not given!

There are two diametrically opposed points of view on the origin of stars:

1. Stars are formed as a result of condensation of gas-dust masses.

2. Stars are formed as a result of the decay of superdense pre-stellar matter.

The first point of view originates from the nebular hypothesis of Kant-Laplace. Now this point of view is generally accepted in science. However, I do not know any serious arguments in its favor. Therefore I will be grateful to the reader if he brings such arguments. I am writing these lines without any hope of getting them 🙂

The second point of view was actively developed by the Soviet academician Viktor Ambartsumyan. It is known as the Byurakan concept. In its favor, there are a number of arguments. We will discuss them later.

According to the Byurakan concept, the stars are formed like the following. During the activity period, a superdense substance is thrown out of the nucleus of the galaxy, which decays into stars and gas. In some cases, because of the rapid rotation of the nucleus, galaxies form spiral arms.

From this point of view, stars are not formed from the nebula, but, on the contrary, the nebulae are gradually thrown out of the stars. The stars, losing the upper atmosphere, form nebulae around them. Nebulae consist mainly of hydrogen because the atmospheres of stars consist mainly of hydrogen.


There is no (or almost no) hydrogen in the bowels of stars. There is a super-dense pre-star substance there. It decays, releasing energy. During the decay, heavy elements are formed, including radioactive ones, such as Uranus and Thorium. A lot of alpha particles, protons and neutrons are also formed. Alpha particles are helium nuclei, and neutrons decay rapidly into protons, which are hydrogen nuclei. Thus, helium and hydrogen continuously appear. These gases, as the lightest, rise upwards – into the atmosphere of the stars. Hydrogen is lighter than helium 4 times, so there is more of it in the upper atmosphere. Stars lose mostly hydrogen and helium (they lose helium less). Therefore, the interstellar gas consists mainly of hydrogen.

So, the arguments in favor of hydrogen in the stellar bowels are based on the assumption that stars are formed from interstellar gas. If we doubt this assumption, then the arguments lose their meaning.

So what do the bowels of the stars and the Sun consist of? Is it possible to answer this question without invoking various hypotheses about the formation of stars?

Vasily Yanchilin

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