triple alpha process
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Related to triple alpha process: Helium fusion
triple alpha process(Salpeter process) A nuclear reaction occurring in an evolved star's interior when all the hydrogen has been used up and the core temperature has reached about 108 kelvin. Three helium nuclei (alpha particles) fuse together to form carbon by the reaction
34He → 12C + γ
This reaction gives out only 10% as much energy per unit mass as hydrogen burning.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006