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A nebula is a cloud of dust and atoms
floating in outer space (Nebula is the Latin
word for a cloud). The earliest nebulae
formed just after the Big Bang, about 15
billion years ago when Quarks and
protons formed electrons and neutrons,
which in turn made hydrogen and helium
atoms. The earliest stars formed in places
where the dust got so thick that gravity
pulled the atoms close enough together
for nuclear fusion to start. A protostar is
produced in a Nebula.
A picture of the Great Orion Nebulae
just on the 13th September 2011.…read more

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Sometimes a nebula just stays at this point,
but if the cloud gets thick enough, with
enough hydrogen atoms close enough
together, it can become a brown dwarf. A
brown dwarf is a small star that is not
quite big enough, so there is not enough
gravity to start the nuclear fusion process.
Brown dwarf stars hardly shine at all, but
they're not very common either.…read more

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If the brown dwarf succeeds in attracting
enough hydrogen atoms and packing
them tightly enough together, then it turns
into a star - like our sun. Inside a main-
sequence star, the pressure of gravity
pushes hydrogen atoms together so they
become helium atoms, and the extra
energy released by this fusion process
shoots out of the star and become heat
and light.…read more

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A star usually doesn't change for several
billion years, but eventually it runs out of
hydrogen atoms to turn into helium
atoms, like a car running out of gas. When
this happens, the star turns into a "red
giants" and are much bigger and cooler
than regular stars, an example of this is
Betelgeuse. When the star has become a
red giant, it only has a limited amount of it'
s life left, they still have nuclear fusion
going on inside them, but they change
helium atoms into carbon, or carbon into
Betelgeuse…read more

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When all of the atoms inside the red giant
are done changing into heavier atoms,
they end up as a big lump of iron in the
centre of the star. When this happens, the
supergiant explodes in a huge `supernova'.…read more

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