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Element Neon, Ne, Noble Gas


Main article: History of Neon discovery

Neon was discovered in 1898 by Scottish chemist William Ramsay and English chemist Morris W. Travers, when Ramsay chilled a sample of the atmosphere until it became a liquid, then warmed the liquid and captured the gases as they boiled off. The spectral analysis showed the presence of new three gases which were krypton, xenon, and neon.

According to a conventional version the name of the new-discovered gas had been found by Ramsay's 13-year-old son Willie, who, seeing the beautiful ruby light emitted from the new substance, asked: "What are you going to call the new gas? I should like to call it Novum." Ramsay liked the suggestion but, wanting to maintain the chemical family's suffix -on, called it "neon"e; (from the Greek νεος [neos] = new, young)."


Neon is actually abundant on a universal scale. The biggest concentration in atmosphere is 0.00182 vol.%. In total there are 6.6x1010 tons of neon on the Earth. It has three stable isotopes: 20Ne, 21Ne and 22Ne. The lightweight 20Ne dominates everywhere: 20Ne has 90.92% of total air amount, 21Ne has 0.257 and 22Ne 8.82 % of the entire atmosphere neon. The average abundance in the Earth crust is small, only 7x10-5 grams per ton. 3 billion tons of neon appear in igneous rocks which composes the main mass of the lithosphere. It is the main source of neon which provides it to the atmosphere while rock breaking. In much less quantities neon is supplied by natural waters.

Neon is the rarest element on Earth among other elements of this period. It is typical for all inert gases, also called Noble Gass, despite in spite of the fact that elements with even numbers are more widespread. Contrary to the Earth neon is in millions times more abundant in stars and gaseous nebula.

By its universal concentration neon is distributed non-uniformly. However it is the fifth or sixth element by its abundance in the Universe. Neon is plentiful on the hot stars such as red giants, gaseous nebula and in the atmospheres of the outer planets of Solar system such as Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune.

The light isotope 20Ne is considered to be dominant in space as well as on the Earth. However, significant quantities of 21Ne and 22Ne are found in extraterrestrial rocks. These isotopes were hypothetically formed on the meteorites for cosmogenic reasons, being exposed to severe bombardment of cosmic rays while their journey in the Universe."


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