Q:

Where was helium discovered?

A:

Quick Answer

Helium was originally discovered on the sun by a French astronomer named Pierre-Jules-Cesar Janssen. Janssen made his discovery when he observed a yellow line within the sun's spectrum in 1868 during a solar eclipse.

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Full Answer

The English astronomer Sir Norman Lockyer identified that the yellow line discovered in the sun's spectrum was not produced by any element known to man at the time. Lockyer came to the conclusion that the new element was produced by the sun and named it helium. Helium was eventually found on Earth when Sir William Ramsey, a Scottish scientist, performed an experiment with clevite, a mineral that contains uranium.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How was fluorine discovered?

    A:

    French scientist Henri Moissan discovered fluorine in 1886 when he ran electric currents through hydrogen fluoride, a compound that contains fluorine. With his discovery, he solved a puzzle that had brought injury and even death to earlier chemists trying to isolate this halogen gas, according to Chemistry Explained.

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  • Q:

    How was argon discovered?

    A:

    Argon was discovered in 1894 by Lord Rayleigh and William Ramsey by the fractional distillation of liquid air. Their experiments confirmed English scientist Henry Cavendish's prediction of argon 200 years earlier.

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  • Q:

    What is helium used for?

    A:

    Helium is used for applications ranging from sending rockets into space to helping deep sea divers breathe. Helium is also at work in the balloons at parties or in the blimp floating overhead at a ball game. It is also used as a coolant in nuclear reactors, the Large Hadron Collider, satellite instruments and MRI scanners.

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  • Q:

    How is helium obtained?

    A:

    Helium is obtained through natural gas as it is extracted from the ground. The helium is a result of the decay of thorium and uranium. As these elements decay, they release an alpha particle. That alpha particle is the nucleus of a helium atom.

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