helium burning

helium burning

The nuclear fusion of three helium nuclei to form carbon. See triple alpha process.

helium burning

[′hē·lē·əm ‚bərn·iŋ]
(nuclear physics)
The synthesis of elements in stars through the fusion of three alpha particles to form a carbon-12 nucleus, followed by further captures of alpha particles.
References in periodicals archive ?
Helium burning can now take place by converting three helium nuclei into carbon (and oxygen) via the triple alpha process.
Stars of much lower mass than the Sun can't reach temperatures high enough to commence helium burning and may not even produce PN but just slowly cool down.
The number one unknown in nuclear astrophysics [has been] the process of helium burning," says Moshe Gai of Yale University,