Featured Element - Helium

Featured Element – Helium

Our featured element is helium. A fascinating gas that you can’t see, taste or smell. It is the most unreactive element in the universe. In fact no other element has ever been able to join on Helium, it is considered noble…… and happy by itself.

Helium is unique on being the only element not discovered on Earth. It was first identified by looking at the spectrum of the Sun (its different colours when split up like a rainbow).

Helium comes from the Greek word Helios that means sun.

Nearly a quarter of the universe is made of Helium. It is found mainly within stars as a result of Hydrogen joins onto other Hydrogen atoms to make the new Element Helium that has an atomic number of 2. There is very little helium on earth because it floats off into outer space after reaching the edge of our atmosphere. 

Helium is being continuously produced within the Earth’s crust where there is radioactive elements. As they Decay they spit out 2 protons and 2 neutrons which are the basic ingredients for helium.

In the news recently, a team of scientists have been researching how alligators communicate. They gave these unsuspecting reptiles a dose of helium to change the tone of their mating call. The team won an Ig Nobel Prize which is given to scientists that perform what seems like useless experiments but they do have a scientific aim.

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