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In what country was helium discovered?

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Quick Answer

The discovery of helium on Earth was made in the United Kingdom by Scottish chemist Sir William Ramsay in 1895. However, the element was first discovered on the sun by French astronomer Pierre Janssen.

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Full Answer

During a solar eclipse in 1868, Janssen observed that the sun emitted a yellow wavelength that was unrecorded at that time. Another scientist, Sir Norman Lockyer, named the new element helium. Several years later, while subjecting the uranium-based mineral clevite to various acids in his London laboratory, Ramsay was able to collect helium for the first time. In 1904, Ramsay won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to the discovery of inert gases.

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