When talking about helium, we should not forget how it was discovered, as it’s important to recall the inception of this unique gas and how countries are coming forward to conserve it. During a solar eclipse on August 18, 1868, French astronomer Pierre Janssen and English astronomer Joseph Norman Lockyer noticed a bright yellow line in the spectrum of the Sun. After doing more research, Lockyer proposed that a new element had been found and named it helium. In this edition of our blog we’re going to explain some crazy and amazing facts about helium. Here are few of them:
Commonly Used in Balloons
Helium balloons are incredibly amazing –you could be holding a balloon one minute, and the next minute (if you were to let go of it) it’s soaring high into the heavens above. If you’ve ever been to a circus or a fair, you may have witnessed kids and adults holding their helium balloons very tight because they don’t want them to fly away into the sky. In the span of your life, you have probably wondered about why helium balloons are able to fly away and soar so high.It’s actually because of the small particle size of the helium atoms which are present in helium balloons. Apart from using the gas in several electric appliances, helium is most commonly used in balloons.
Lighter than Air
Helium is known as one of the lightest and densest elements.Helium consists of extremely small atoms, which makes it light – lighter than the lightest. Helium is one of the major gas, and is used around the world to fill balloons so that balloons can float in the air.
Works at Sea
Because of the lightweight, helium can also be compressed easily into oxygen cylinders, and is therefore used in specialized breathing mixtures that are used by scuba divers. Initially, nitrogen was used by scuba divers, but at a high pressure, such as 100 feet below the water – nitrogen gets dissolved at that point. In such cases divers have experienced a lot of problems, which is why nitrogen was replaced by Helium. To get around the problems of nitrogen, technical and commercial divers have started using “Heliox” in which the fraction of nitrogen is replaced by helium.
Helium Powers Sun
Helium gets its name from “Helios” which is taken from the name for the Greek God of the sun. Helium was discovered in 1860’s by astronauts after studying the “Gas Absorption Lines” of the colour spectrum of sunlight. Around 45 percent of the mass of the sun is composed of helium. This element is actually what helps keep the sun and stars burning brightly.In addition to this, helium atoms are fused in stars to create heavier elements such as carbon, oxygen and silicon.
Helium’s low boiling point makes it ideal for cooling any substance, and is used in machines for keeping the temperature at a lower level. Helium gas condenses into a liquid at extremely low temperatures, around minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 268 degrees Celsius) at atmospheric pressure, and starts to exhibit very strange behaviour at even lower temperatures.