Here are ten quick facts about the element helium. Check the full listing for helium
if you would like additional element facts.
- The atomic number of helium is 2, meaning each atom of helium has two protons.
- Helium has the lowest melting point and boiling point of the elements, so it only exists as a gas except under extreme conditions.
- Helium is the second-lightest element.
- Helium is the second-most abundant element in the universe, though it is much less common on Earth.
- Helium is colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, and inert.
- Most helium is obtained by extracting it from natural gas.
- Helium is the second-least reactive noble gas (after neon).
- Helium is monatomic under standard conditions.
- Inhaling helium temporarily changes the sound of a person's voice. Though helium is non-toxic, breathing it can result in asphyxiation due to oxygen deprivation.
- Evidence of helium's existence came from observation of a yellow spectral line from the sun.