triple alpha process


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Related to triple alpha process: Helium fusion

triple alpha process

n.
A thermonuclear fusion reaction in which three alpha particles (helium nuclei) fuse to form a carbon nucleus, thereby releasing energy. The triple alpha process fuels the luminosity of stars after they leave the main sequence.
References in periodicals archive ?
As we saw in Part I, a Sun-type star converts hydrogen to helium (He) by means of the Proton-Proton chain, but in slightly more massive stars the Triple Alpha process dominates:
The end product is mainly carbon but with some oxygen and it is termed the triple alpha process, because He nuclei are also known as 'alpha particles'.