Our nearby star’s pressure and heat tends to melt ice that is close by and to blow out elements that are lighter

  • 2
    We need context, and even so, it's probably a question for the physics forum.
    – Pifagor
    May 13, 2015 at 17:57
  • Hydrogen and helium are lighter (have lower "atomic weight") than oxygen and nitrogen, eg.
    – Hot Licks
    May 13, 2015 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


The sun creates a "solar wind". This is a stream of particles that emanate out from the surface of the sun in all directions. In this context "blow out elements that are lighter" means that light elements are blown away from the sun by the solar wind. This is analogous to the wind on earth blowing light objects.

  • It's probably worth noting that the analogy is very loose. The solar wind comprises subatomic particles (electrons, protons alpha particles, etc.) moving at several hundred kilometers/second. Atoms, molecules, and actual dust particles are so much bigger that although they are "pushed" away from the sun by each of countless impacts, I doubt they get up to anything like the speeds of the particles themselves. Unlike a terrestrial feather, say, which to a first approximation is simply "carried" by the air at the speed of the wind. May 13, 2015 at 20:09

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