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The Life Cycle of a Small Star

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Jon Wong

on 15 June 2015

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Transcript of The Life Cycle of a Small Star

The Life Cycle of a Small Star
Stage 1
Stage 1: Nebula
A nebula is a celestial form in space composed of a cloud of hydrogen gas and dust. A nebula is the birthplace of a star.
An example of a nebula is the Orion Nebula.
Stage 2
Stage 2: Protostar
A protostar is described as a forming star. It takes roughly 10 billion years for a protostar to become a star. Note that gravity plays a main role in the formation of stars. In order for a protostar to become a star, a gravitational centre must occur within the nebula. If a protostar contains enough matter the temperature can reach 15 million centigrades
Stage 3
Main Sequence Star
The cause to the brilliant twinkling of stars at night is caused by the nature of stars, where through most of their life hydrogen is being fused into helium. This is known as the main sequence.

Stage 4
As temperatures spike, the core is hot enough for the helium to fuse to form carbon. The outer layers begin to expand, cool and shine less brightly. The expanding star is now called a Red Giant.
Red Giant
Planetary Nebula
Stage 5
The helium core depletes, and the outer layers drift of away from the core as a gaseous shell, this gas that surrounds the core is called a Planetary Nebula.
Stage 6
White Dwarf
What remains is the core, approximately 80% of the original star. The core becomes a White Dwarf the star eventually cools and dims.
When it stops shining, the now dead star is called a Black Dwarf
Stage 7
Black Dwarf
The Life Cycle of a Massive Star
Stage 1
Massive stars will also have a birth through a stellar nebula, only differing by its dust and gas quantity
This image shows the Carina Nebula.
Stage 2
Main Sequence
Similar to smaller stars, they enter a main sequence phase. The temperature, contrast and amount of time the star takes to run out of hydrogen depends on the mass of the star. A massive star will burn at a high temperature, and its hydrogen will only last for millions of years. This is considerably less in terms of time to small and medium stars.
Red Supergiant
Stage 3
When the star has depleted its source of hydrogen, there is a unbalance on the gravitational inward forces and the nuclear fusion outwards force. This causes the core to collapse, and the hydrogen fusion continues on the surface. As temperatures increase, so does the star, forming a red supergiant.
Stage 4
Quote from Thompson Nasa, "Its core will collapse, resulting in an explosion that can't compare to any we might experience on Earth -- unless we were to bundle a few octillion nuclear warheads and detonate them all at the same time"
Stage 6
Neutron Star
Black Hole
Stage 6
By Jon Wong 10SCI.E
If the core survives and is between roughly 1.5-3 solar masses(approx 3 times the sun), it will become a neutron star, an extremely dense and compact
If the core survives and is more than 3 solar masses , it will form a black hole.
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