Stars and the Universe

Basic information on stars... useful for part P3 of the AQA physics GCSE.

  • Created by: Rachel
  • Created on: 24-04-08 09:14

Our Universe- Introduction- the easy bit!

  • The earth part of a series of planets orbiting around the sun. This we call the solar system.
  • Our solar system is part of huge collection of stars and orbiting materisl in a galaxy called the milky way.
  • There are billions of galaxies in the universe...
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How Stars Are Formed

  • Clouds of dust and gas are pulled together by the attractive force of gravity between them
  • As they get more compressed, their temperature rises
  • Eventually it rises enough to fuse together hydrogen gas into helium- the begining of nuclear fussion.
  • This fusion continues, and a star is formed. All stars use nuclear fusion as an energy source, and all of the elements found naturally in our universe come about through this process.
  • Debris and dust rotating around the star may clump together to form planets.
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How Does A Star Remain Stable?

2 forces balance to create stability during the life cycle of star:

  • Gravity pulling the star inwards
  • Radiation pressure- the effect of huge temperatures- within the star act outwards
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Life Cycle of Smaller Stars

stellar nebula ---> creates a...

average star ---> expands to become...

red giant ---> cools down and forms...

planetary nebula --->

white dwarf

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Life Cycle of Larger Stars (greater mass)

Stellar nebula---> creates a...

Massive star ---> expands into a...

red supergiant ---> shrinks rapidly, explodes into...

Supernova ---> turns into either....

  • If a medium star: neutron star
  • If a large star: black hole
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