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What particle is emitted in alpha radiation?

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Quick Answer

Atoms emit alpha particles during alpha radiation. An imbalance between the number of protons and neutrons inside an atom's nucleus results in the emission of alpha particles.

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Full Answer

Ernest Rutherford first saw alpha particles in 1899 as a result of uranium experimentation. Alpha particles consist of two protons and two neutrons, the same as a helium nucleus. Alpha particles are natural substances that show up naturally in the Earth's crust.

The emission of alpha particles helps keep balance between protons and neutrons while a substance undergoes radioactive decay. As the number of protons decides the makeup of an element, whenever an atom jettisons an alpha particle, the atom becomes a different element.

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