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Chemical element with symbol H and atomic number 1; lightest and most abundant chemical substance in the universe

Top 10 Hydrogen related articles

Hydrogen, 1H
Purple glow in its plasma state
Appearancecolorless gas
Standard atomic weight Ar, std(H)[1.007841.00811] conventional: 1.008
Hydrogen in the periodic table
Hydrogen Helium
Lithium Beryllium Boron Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen Fluorine Neon
Sodium Magnesium Aluminium Silicon Phosphorus Sulfur Chlorine Argon
Potassium Calcium Scandium Titanium Vanadium Chromium Manganese Iron Cobalt Nickel Copper Zinc Gallium Germanium Arsenic Selenium Bromine Krypton
Rubidium Strontium Yttrium Zirconium Niobium Molybdenum Technetium Ruthenium Rhodium Palladium Silver Cadmium Indium Tin Antimony Tellurium Iodine Xenon
Caesium Barium Lanthanum Cerium Praseodymium Neodymium Promethium Samarium Europium Gadolinium Terbium Dysprosium Holmium Erbium Thulium Ytterbium Lutetium Hafnium Tantalum Tungsten Rhenium Osmium Iridium Platinum Gold Mercury (element) Thallium Lead Bismuth Polonium Astatine Radon
Francium Radium Actinium Thorium Protactinium Uranium Neptunium Plutonium Americium Curium Berkelium Californium Einsteinium Fermium Mendelevium Nobelium Lawrencium Rutherfordium Dubnium Seaborgium Bohrium Hassium Meitnerium Darmstadtium Roentgenium Copernicium Nihonium Flerovium Moscovium Livermorium Tennessine Oganesson


– ← hydrogenhelium
Atomic number (Z)1
Group1: H and alkali metals
Periodperiod 1
Block  s-block
Electron configuration1s1
Electrons per shell1
Physical properties
Phase at STPgas
Melting point(H2) 13.99 K ​(−259.16 °C, ​−434.49 °F)
Boiling point(H2) 20.271 K ​(−252.879 °C, ​−423.182 °F)
Density (at STP)0.08988 g/L
when liquid (at m.p.)0.07 g/cm3 (solid: 0.0763 g/cm3)[1]
when liquid (at b.p.)0.07099 g/cm3
Triple point13.8033 K, ​7.041 kPa
Critical point32.938 K, 1.2858 MPa
Heat of fusion(H2) 0.117 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization(H2) 0.904 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity(H2) 28.836 J/(mol·K)
Vapor pressure
P (Pa) 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T (K) 15 20
Atomic properties
Oxidation states−1, +1 (an amphoteric oxide)
ElectronegativityPauling scale: 2.20
Ionization energies
  • 1st: 1312.0 kJ/mol
Covalent radius31±5 pm
Van der Waals radius120 pm
Spectral lines of hydrogen
Other properties
Natural occurrenceprimordial
Crystal structurehexagonal
Speed of sound1310 m/s (gas, 27 °C)
Thermal conductivity0.1805 W/(m⋅K)
Magnetic orderingdiamagnetic[2]
Molar magnetic susceptibility−3.98×10−6 cm3/mol (298 K)[3]
CAS Number12385-13-6
1333-74-0 (H2)
DiscoveryHenry Cavendish[4][5] (1766)
Named byAntoine Lavoisier[6] (1783)
Main isotopes of hydrogen
Iso­tope Abun­dance Half-life (t1/2) Decay mode Pro­duct
1H 99.98% stable
2H 0.02% stable
3H trace 12.32 y β 3He
 Category: Hydrogen
| references

Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1. With a standard atomic weight of 1.008, hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constituting roughly 75% of all baryonic mass.[7][note 1] Non-remnant stars are mainly composed of hydrogen in the plasma state. The most common isotope of hydrogen, termed protium (name rarely used, symbol 1H), has one proton and no neutrons.

The universal emergence of atomic hydrogen first occurred during the recombination epoch (Big Bang). At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, nonmetallic, highly combustible diatomic gas with the molecular formula H2. Since hydrogen readily forms covalent compounds with most nonmetallic elements, most of the hydrogen on Earth exists in molecular forms such as water or organic compounds. Hydrogen plays a particularly important role in acid–base reactions because most acid-base reactions involve the exchange of protons between soluble molecules. In ionic compounds, hydrogen can take the form of a negative charge (i.e., anion) when it is known as a hydride, or as a positively charged (i.e., cation) species denoted by the symbol H+. The hydrogen cation is written as though composed of a bare proton, but in reality, hydrogen cations in ionic compounds are always more complex. As the only neutral atom for which the Schrödinger equation can be solved analytically,[8] study of the energetics and bonding of the hydrogen atom has played a key role in the development of quantum mechanics.

Hydrogen gas was first artificially produced in the early 16th century by the reaction of acids on metals. In 1766–81, Henry Cavendish was the first to recognize that hydrogen gas was a discrete substance,[9] and that it produces water when burned, the property for which it was later named: in Greek, hydrogen means "water-former".

Industrial production is mainly from steam reforming natural gas, and less often from more energy-intensive methods such as the electrolysis of water.[10] Most hydrogen is used near the site of its production, the two largest uses being fossil fuel processing (e.g., hydrocracking) and ammonia production, mostly for the fertilizer market. Hydrogen is problematic in metallurgy because it can embrittle many metals,[11] complicating the design of pipelines and storage tanks.[12]

Hydrogen Intro articles: 36



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Combustion of hydrogen with the oxygen in the air. When the bottom cap is removed, allowing air to enter at the bottom, the hydrogen in the container rises out of top and burns as it mixes with the air.
The Space Shuttle Main Engine burnt hydrogen with oxygen, producing a nearly invisible flame at full thrust.

Hydrogen gas (dihydrogen or molecular hydrogen)[13] is highly flammable:

2 H2(g) + O2(g) → 2 H2O(l) + 572 kJ (286 kJ/mol)[note 2]

The enthalpy of combustion is −286 kJ/mol.[14]

Hydrogen gas forms explosive mixtures with air in concentrations from 4–74%[15] and with chlorine at 5–95%. The explosive reactions may be triggered by spark, heat, or sunlight. The hydrogen autoignition temperature, the temperature of spontaneous ignition in air, is 500 °C (932 °F).[16]


Pure hydrogen-oxygen flames emit ultraviolet light and with high oxygen mix are nearly invisible to the naked eye, as illustrated by the faint plume of the Space Shuttle Main Engine, compared to the highly visible plume of a Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster, which uses an ammonium perchlorate composite. The detection of a burning hydrogen leak may require a flame detector; such leaks can be very dangerous. Hydrogen flames in other conditions are blue, resembling blue natural gas flames.[17] The destruction of the Hindenburg airship was a notorious example of hydrogen combustion and the cause is still debated. The visible flames in the photographs were the result of carbon compounds in the airship skin burning.[18]


H2 is relatively unreactive. The thermodynamic basis of this low reactivity is the very strong H-H bond, with a bond dissociation energy of 435.7 kJ/mol.[19] The kinetic basis of the low reactivity is the nonpolar nature of H2 and its weak polarizability. It spontaneously reacts with chlorine and fluorine to form hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride, respectively.[20] The reactivity of H2 is strongly affected by the presence of metal catalysts. Thus, while H2 combusts readily, mixtures of H2 and O2 do not react in the absence of a catalyst.

Electron energy levels

Depiction of a hydrogen atom with size of central proton shown, and the atomic diameter shown as about twice the Bohr model radius (image not to scale)

The ground state energy level of the electron in a hydrogen atom is −13.6 eV,[21] which is equivalent to an ultraviolet photon of roughly 91 nm wavelength.[22]

The energy levels of hydrogen can be calculated fairly accurately using the Bohr model of the atom, which conceptualizes the electron as "orbiting" the proton in analogy to the Earth's orbit of the Sun. However, the atomic electron and proton are held together by electromagnetic force, while planets and celestial objects are held by gravity. Because of the discretization of angular momentum postulated in early quantum mechanics by Bohr, the electron in the Bohr model can only occupy certain allowed distances from the proton, and therefore only certain allowed energies.[23]

A more accurate description of the hydrogen atom comes from a purely quantum mechanical treatment that uses the Schrödinger equation, Dirac equation or Feynman path integral formulation to calculate the probability density of the electron around the proton.[24] The most complicated treatments allow for the small effects of special relativity and vacuum polarization. In the quantum mechanical treatment, the electron in a ground state hydrogen atom has no angular momentum at all—illustrating how the "planetary orbit" differs from electron motion.

Elemental molecular forms

First tracks observed in liquid hydrogen bubble chamber at the Bevatron

Molecular H2 exists as two spin isomers, i.e. compounds with two nuclear spin states.[25] In the orthohydrogen form, the spins of the two nuclei are parallel and form a triplet state with a molecular spin quantum number of 1 (12+12); in the parahydrogen form the spins are antiparallel and form a singlet with a molecular spin quantum number of 0 (1212). At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen gas contains about 25% of the para form and 75% of the ortho form, also known as the "normal form".[26] The equilibrium ratio of orthohydrogen to parahydrogen depends on temperature, but because the ortho form is an excited state and has a higher energy than the para form, it is unstable and cannot be purified. At very low temperatures, the equilibrium state is composed almost exclusively of the para form. The liquid and gas phase thermal properties of pure parahydrogen differ significantly from those of the normal form because of differences in rotational heat capacities, as discussed more fully in spin isomers of hydrogen.[27] The ortho/para distinction also occurs in other hydrogen-containing molecules or functional groups, such as water and methylene, but is of little significance for their thermal properties.[28]

The ortho form converts to the para form slowly at low temperatures.[29] The ortho/para ratio in condensed H2 is an important consideration in the preparation and storage of liquid hydrogen: the conversion from ortho to para is exothermic and produces enough heat to evaporate some of the hydrogen liquid, leading to loss of liquefied material. Catalysts for the ortho-para interconversion, such as ferric oxide, activated carbon, platinized asbestos, rare earth metals, uranium compounds, chromic oxide, or some nickel[30] compounds, are used during hydrogen cooling.[31]



Covalent and organic compounds

While H2 is not very reactive under standard conditions, it does form compounds with most elements. Hydrogen can form compounds with elements that are more electronegative, such as halogens (F, Cl, Br, I), or oxygen; in these compounds hydrogen takes on a partial positive charge.[32] When bonded to a more electronegative element, particularly fluorine, oxygen, or nitrogen, hydrogen can participate in a form of medium-strength noncovalent bonding with another electronegative element with a lone pair, a phenomenon called hydrogen bonding that is critical to the stability of many biological molecules.[33][34] Hydrogen also forms compounds with less electronegative elements, such as metals and metalloids, where it takes on a partial negative charge. These compounds are often known as hydrides.[35]

Hydrogen forms a vast array of compounds with carbon called the hydrocarbons, and an even vaster array with heteroatoms that, because of their general association with living things, are called organic compounds.[36] The study of their properties is known as organic chemistry[37] and their study in the context of living organisms is known as biochemistry.[38] By some definitions, "organic" compounds are only required to contain carbon. However, most of them also contain hydrogen, and because it is the carbon-hydrogen bond that gives this class of compounds most of its particular chemical characteristics, carbon-hydrogen bonds are required in some definitions of the word "organic" in chemistry.[36] Millions of hydrocarbons are known, and they are usually formed by complicated pathways that seldom involve elemental hydrogen.

Hydrogen is highly soluble in many rare earth and transition metals[39] and is soluble in both nanocrystalline and amorphous metals.[40] Hydrogen solubility in metals is influenced by local distortions or impurities in the crystal lattice.[41] These properties may be useful when hydrogen is purified by passage through hot palladium disks, but the gas's high solubility is a metallurgical problem, contributing to the embrittlement of many metals,[11] complicating the design of pipelines and storage tanks.[12]


Compounds of hydrogen are often called hydrides, a term that is used fairly loosely. The term "hydride" suggests that the H atom has acquired a negative or anionic character, denoted H, and is used when hydrogen forms a compound with a more electropositive element. The existence of the hydride anion, suggested by Gilbert N. Lewis in 1916 for group 1 and 2 salt-like hydrides, was demonstrated by Moers in 1920 by the electrolysis of molten lithium hydride (LiH), producing a stoichiometric quantity of hydrogen at the anode.[42] For hydrides other than group 1 and 2 metals, the term is quite misleading, considering the low electronegativity of hydrogen. An exception in group 2 hydrides is BeH
, which is polymeric. In lithium aluminium hydride, the AlH
anion carries hydridic centers firmly attached to the Al(III).

Although hydrides can be formed with almost all main-group elements, the number and combination of possible compounds varies widely; for example, more than 100 binary borane hydrides are known, but only one binary aluminium hydride.[43] Binary indium hydride has not yet been identified, although larger complexes exist.[44]

In inorganic chemistry, hydrides can also serve as bridging ligands that link two metal centers in a coordination complex. This function is particularly common in group 13 elements, especially in boranes (boron hydrides) and aluminium complexes, as well as in clustered carboranes.[45]

Protons and acids

Oxidation of hydrogen removes its electron and gives H+, which contains no electrons and a nucleus which is usually composed of one proton. That is why H+
is often called a proton. This species is central to discussion of acids. Under the Brønsted–Lowry acid–base theory, acids are proton donors, while bases are proton acceptors.

A bare proton, H+
, cannot exist in solution or in ionic crystals because of its unstoppable attraction to other atoms or molecules with electrons. Except at the high temperatures associated with plasmas, such protons cannot be removed from the electron clouds of atoms and molecules, and will remain attached to them. However, the term 'proton' is sometimes used loosely and metaphorically to refer to positively charged or cationic hydrogen attached to other species in this fashion, and as such is denoted "H+
" without any implication that any single protons exist freely as a species.

To avoid the implication of the naked "solvated proton" in solution, acidic aqueous solutions are sometimes considered to contain a less unlikely fictitious species, termed the "hydronium ion" (H
). However, even in this case, such solvated hydrogen cations are more realistically conceived as being organized into clusters that form species closer to H
.[46] Other oxonium ions are found when water is in acidic solution with other solvents.[47]

Although exotic on Earth, one of the most common ions in the universe is the H+
ion, known as protonated molecular hydrogen or the trihydrogen cation.[48]

Atomic hydrogen

NASA has investigated the use of atomic hydrogen as a rocket propellant. It could be stored in liquid helium to prevent it from recombining into molecular hydrogen. When the helium is vaporized, the atomic hydrogen would be released and combine back to molecular hydrogen. The result would be an intensely hot stream of hydrogen and helium gas. The liftoff weight of rockets could be reduced by 50% by this method.[49]

Most interstellar hydrogen is in the form of atomic hydrogen because the atoms can seldom collide and combine. They are the source of the important 21 cm hydrogen line in astronomy at 1420 MHz.[50]


Hydrogen discharge (spectrum) tube
Deuterium discharge (spectrum) tube
Protium, the most common isotope of hydrogen, has one proton and one electron. Unique among all stable isotopes, it has no neutrons (see diproton for a discussion of why others do not exist).

Hydrogen has three naturally occurring isotopes, denoted 1
, 2
and 3
. Other, highly unstable nuclei (4
to 7
) have been synthesized in the laboratory but not observed in nature.[51][52]

  • 1
    is the most common hydrogen isotope, with an abundance of more than 99.98%. Because the nucleus of this isotope consists of only a single proton, it is given the descriptive but rarely used formal name protium.[53]
  • 2
    , the other stable hydrogen isotope, is known as deuterium and contains one proton and one neutron in the nucleus. All deuterium in the universe is thought to have been produced at the time of the Big Bang, and has endured since that time. Deuterium is not radioactive, and does not represent a significant toxicity hazard. Water enriched in molecules that include deuterium instead of normal hydrogen is called heavy water. Deuterium and its compounds are used as a non-radioactive label in chemical experiments and in solvents for 1
    -NMR spectroscopy.[54] Heavy water is used as a neutron moderator and coolant for nuclear reactors. Deuterium is also a potential fuel for commercial nuclear fusion.[55]
  • 3
    is known as tritium and contains one proton and two neutrons in its nucleus. It is radioactive, decaying into helium-3 through beta decay with a half-life of 12.32 years.[45] It is so radioactive that it can be used in luminous paint, making it useful in such things as watches. The glass prevents the small amount of radiation from getting out.[56] Small amounts of tritium are produced naturally by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric gases; tritium has also been released during nuclear weapons tests.[57] It is used in nuclear fusion reactions,[58] as a tracer in isotope geochemistry,[59] and in specialized self-powered lighting devices.[60] Tritium has also been used in chemical and biological labeling experiments as a radiolabel.[61]

Unique among the elements, distinct names are assigned to its isotopes in common use today. During the early study of radioactivity, various heavy radioactive isotopes were given their own names, but such names are no longer used, except for deuterium and tritium. The symbols D and T (instead of 2
and 3
) are sometimes used for deuterium and tritium, but the corresponding symbol for protium, P, is already in use for phosphorus and thus is not available for protium.[62] In its nomenclatural guidelines, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) allows any of D, T, 2
, and 3
to be used, although 2
and 3
are preferred.[63]

The exotic atom muonium (symbol Mu), composed of an antimuon and an electron, is also sometimes considered as a light radioisotope of hydrogen, due to the mass difference between the antimuon and the electron.[64] Muonium was discovered in 1960.[65] During the muon's 2.2 µs lifetime, muonium can enter into compounds such as muonium chloride (MuCl) or sodium muonide (NaMu), analogous to hydrogen chloride and sodium hydride respectively.[66]

Hydrogen Properties articles: 118


Discovery and use

In 1671, Robert Boyle discovered and described the reaction between iron filings and dilute acids, which results in the production of hydrogen gas.[67][68] In 1766, Henry Cavendish was the first to recognize hydrogen gas as a discrete substance, by naming the gas from a metal-acid reaction "inflammable air". He speculated that "inflammable air" was in fact identical to the hypothetical substance called "phlogiston"[69][70] and further finding in 1781 that the gas produces water when burned. He is usually given credit for the discovery of hydrogen as an element.[4][5] In 1783, Antoine Lavoisier gave the element the name hydrogen (from the Greek ὑδρο- hydro meaning "water" and -γενής genes meaning "creator")[71] when he and Laplace reproduced Cavendish's finding that water is produced when hydrogen is burned.[5]

Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier

Lavoisier produced hydrogen for his experiments on mass conservation by reacting a flux of steam with metallic iron through an incandescent iron tube heated in a fire. Anaerobic oxidation of iron by the protons of water at high temperature can be schematically represented by the set of following reactions:

   Fe +    H2O → FeO + H2
2 Fe + 3 H2O → Fe2O3 + 3 H2
3 Fe + 4 H2O → Fe3O4 + 4 H2

Many metals such as zirconium undergo a similar reaction with water leading to the production of hydrogen.

Hydrogen was liquefied for the first time by James Dewar in 1898 by using regenerative cooling and his invention, the vacuum flask.[5] He produced solid hydrogen the next year.[5] Deuterium was discovered in December 1931 by Harold Urey, and tritium was prepared in 1934 by Ernest Rutherford, Mark Oliphant, and Paul Harteck.[4] Heavy water, which consists of deuterium in the place of regular hydrogen, was discovered by Urey's group in 1932.[5] François Isaac de Rivaz built the first de Rivaz engine, an internal combustion engine powered by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen in 1806. Edward Daniel Clarke invented the hydrogen gas blowpipe in 1819. The Döbereiner's lamp and limelight were invented in 1823.[5]

The first hydrogen-filled balloon was invented by Jacques Charles in 1783.[5] Hydrogen provided the lift for the first reliable form of air-travel following the 1852 invention of the first hydrogen-lifted airship by Henri Giffard.[5] German count Ferdinand von Zeppelin promoted the idea of rigid airships lifted by hydrogen that later were called Zeppelins; the first of which had its maiden flight in 1900.[5] Regularly scheduled flights started in 1910 and by the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, they had carried 35,000 passengers without a serious incident. Hydrogen-lifted airships were used as observation platforms and bombers during the war.

The first non-stop transatlantic crossing was made by the British airship R34 in 1919. Regular passenger service resumed in the 1920s and the discovery of helium reserves in the United States promised increased safety, but the U.S. government refused to sell the gas for this purpose. Therefore, H2 was used in the Hindenburg airship, which was destroyed in a midair fire over New Jersey on 6 May 1937.[5] The incident was broadcast live on radio and filmed. Ignition of leaking hydrogen is widely assumed to be the cause, but later investigations pointed to the ignition of the aluminized fabric coating by static electricity. But the damage to hydrogen's reputation as a lifting gas was already done and commercial hydrogen airship travel ceased. Hydrogen is still used, in preference to non-flammable but more expensive helium, as a lifting gas for weather balloons.

In the same year, the first hydrogen-cooled turbogenerator went into service with gaseous hydrogen as a coolant in the rotor and the stator in 1937 at Dayton, Ohio, by the Dayton Power & Light Co.;[72] because of the thermal conductivity and very low viscosity of hydrogen gas, thus lower drag than air, this is the most common type in its field today for large generators (typically 60 MW and bigger; smaller generators are usually air-cooled).

The nickel hydrogen battery was used for the first time in 1977 aboard the U.S. Navy's Navigation technology satellite-2 (NTS-2).[73] For example, the ISS,[74] Mars Odyssey[75] and the Mars Global Surveyor[76] are equipped with nickel-hydrogen batteries. In the dark part of its orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope is also powered by nickel-hydrogen batteries, which were finally replaced in May 2009,[77] more than 19 years after launch and 13 years beyond their design life.[78]

Role in quantum theory

Hydrogen emission spectrum lines in the visible range. These are the four visible lines of the Balmer series

Because of its simple atomic structure, consisting only of a proton and an electron, the hydrogen atom, together with the spectrum of light produced from it or absorbed by it, has been central to the development of the theory of atomic structure.[79] Furthermore, study of the corresponding simplicity of the hydrogen molecule and the corresponding cation H+
brought understanding of the nature of the chemical bond, which followed shortly after the quantum mechanical treatment of the hydrogen atom had been developed in the mid-1920s.

One of the first quantum effects to be explicitly noticed (but not understood at the time) was a Maxwell observation involving hydrogen, half a century before full quantum mechanical theory arrived. Maxwell observed that the specific heat capacity of H2 unaccountably departs from that of a diatomic gas below room temperature and begins to increasingly resemble that of a monatomic gas at cryogenic temperatures. According to quantum theory, this behavior arises from the spacing of the (quantized) rotational energy levels, which are particularly wide-spaced in H2 because of its low mass. These widely spaced levels inhibit equal partition of heat energy into rotational motion in hydrogen at low temperatures. Diatomic gases composed of heavier atoms do not have such widely spaced levels and do not exhibit the same effect.[80]

Antihydrogen (
) is the antimatter counterpart to hydrogen. It consists of an antiproton with a positron. Antihydrogen is the only type of antimatter atom to have been produced as of 2015.[81][82]

Hydrogen History articles: 49

Cosmic prevalence and distribution

Hydrogen, as atomic H, is the most abundant chemical element in the universe, making up 75 percent of normal matter by mass and more than 90 percent by number of atoms. (Most of the mass of the universe, however, is not in the form of chemical-element type matter, but rather is postulated to occur as yet-undetected forms of mass such as dark matter and dark energy.[83]) This element is found in great abundance in stars and gas giant planets. Molecular clouds of H2 are associated with star formation. Hydrogen plays a vital role in powering stars through the proton-proton reaction in case of stars with very low to approximately 1 mass of the Sun and the CNO cycle of nuclear fusion in case of stars more massive than our Sun.[84]


Throughout the universe, hydrogen is mostly found in the atomic and plasma states, with properties quite distinct from those of molecular hydrogen. As a plasma, hydrogen's electron and proton are not bound together, resulting in very high electrical conductivity and high emissivity (producing the light from the Sun and other stars). The charged particles are highly influenced by magnetic and electric fields. For example, in the solar wind they interact with the Earth's magnetosphere giving rise to Birkeland currents and the aurora. Hydrogen is found in the neutral atomic state in the interstellar medium. The large amount of neutral hydrogen found in the damped Lyman-alpha systems is thought to dominate the cosmological baryonic density of the universe up to redshift z=4.[85]

Under ordinary conditions on Earth, elemental hydrogen exists as the diatomic gas, H2. However, hydrogen gas is very rare in the Earth's atmosphere (1 ppm by volume) because of its light weight, which enables it to escape from Earth's gravity more easily than heavier gases. However, hydrogen is the third most abundant element on the Earth's surface,[86] mostly in the form of chemical compounds such as hydrocarbons and water.[45] Hydrogen gas is produced by some bacteria and algae and is a natural component of flatus, as is methane, itself a hydrogen source of increasing importance.[87]

A molecular form called protonated molecular hydrogen (H+
) is found in the interstellar medium, where it is generated by ionization of molecular hydrogen from cosmic rays. This ion has also been observed in the upper atmosphere of the planet Jupiter. The ion is relatively stable in the environment of outer space due to the low temperature and density. H+
is one of the most abundant ions in the universe, and it plays a notable role in the chemistry of the interstellar medium.[88] Neutral triatomic hydrogen H3 can exist only in an excited form and is unstable.[89] By contrast, the positive hydrogen molecular ion (H+
) is a rare molecule in the universe.

Hydrogen Cosmic prevalence and distribution articles: 28