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Liquid Metallic Hydrogen: A Building Block for the Liquid Sun

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Author(s): Robitaille P.-M.

Journal: Progress in Physics
ISSN 1555-5534

Volume: 3;
Start page: 60;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Liquid Metallic Hydrogen | Liquid Sun | photosphere | solar emission

ABSTRACT
Liquid metallic hydrogen provides a compelling material for constructing a condensed matter model of the Sun and the photosphere. Like diamond, metallic hydrogen might have the potential to be a metastable substance requiring high pressures for formation. Once created, it would remain stable even at lower pressures. The metallicform of hydrogen was initially conceived in 1935 by Eugene Wigner and Hillard B. Huntington who indirectly anticipated its elevated critical temperature for liquefaction (Wigner E. and Huntington H. B. On the possibility of a metallic modification of hydrogen. J. Chem. Phys., 1935, v.3, 764–770). At that time, solid metallic hydrogen was hypothesized to exist as a body centered cubic, although a more energetically accessible layered graphite-like lattice was also envisioned. Relative to solar emission, this structural resemblance between graphite and layered metallic hydrogen should not be easilydismissed. In the laboratory, metallic hydrogen remains an elusive material. However, given the extensive observational evidence for a condensed Sun composed primarily of hydrogen, it is appropriate to consider metallic hydrogen as a solar building block. It is anticipated that solar liquid metallic hydrogen should possess at least some layered order. Since layered liquid metallic hydrogen would be essentially incompressible, its invocation as a solar constituent brings into question much of current stellar physics. The central proof of a liquid state remains the thermal spectrum of the Sun itself. Its proper understanding brings together all the great forces which shaped modern physics. Although other proofs exist for a liquid photosphere, our focus remains solidly on the generation of this light.

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Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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