P3-Lifecycle of a Star

Notes on the life cycles of both low and high mass stars.

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Lifecycle of a small star.

If the star is less than 3 times the mass of our sun, its lifecycle is as follows:

  • Clouds of gas and dust swirl in together due to gravitational attraction, formining a protostar.
  • Fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium creates large amounts of energy, given off as heat and light, this is a main sequence star.
  • When all the hydrogen has run out, helium begins to be fused, forming heavier elements such as oxygen, carbon, neon. 
  • Eventually, the outwards radiation pressure is larger than inwards pull of gravity and the star swells into a red giant.
  • Over time the red giant will collapse into a white dwarf, and then finally a black dwarf

Protostar->Main Sequence Star->Red Giant ->White Dwarf->Black Dwarf

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Lifecycle of a big star.

If the star is greater than 3 times the mass of our sun, its lifecycle is as follows:

 

  • Clouds of gas and dust swirl in together due to gravitational attraction, formining a protostar.
  • Fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium creates large amounts of energy, given off as heat and light, this is a main sequence star.
  • When all the hydrogen has run out, helium begins to be fused, forming heavier elements such as oxygen, carbon, neon. 
  • When all the elements have fused together, the star explodes, know as a supernova many heavy elements are created due to the intense heat.
  • After a supernova, a very dense core remains, which is called a neutron starOR if the star was big enough, a Black Hole.

Protostar->Main Sequence Star->Red Giant ->Supernova->Neutron star/black hole

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Comments

Kat

This was very helpful, thanks!

Dom B

this was very good! thanks a lot :) 

:) PurpleJaguar (: - Team GR

These notes are soo soo helpful thanks a lot :)

By the way, what is a 'Super red giant'? 

:)

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