Stars Lifecycle

A passage through how the star is born and what happens when it dies. AQA GCSE P3 module

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: jimmyd94
  • Created on: 16-05-10 08:36

The beginning

Stars form out of clouds of dust

  • The particles in the clouds gather together due to gravity
  • The clouds then merge together to form a 'protostar' (star soon to be born)
  • The protostar begins to become denser, getting hotter
  • Once it has become hot enough the nuclei of hydrogen and other light elements fuse together
  • Energy is released during this process so the core gets hotter, this results in shining
1 of 4

Shining Stars

The stars radiate energy due to the hydrogen nuclei inside them fusing together.

  • The nuclear fusion will continue for millions of years until the hydrogen supply runs out
  • The force of gravity that makes a star contract is balanced by te outward pressure of radiation from its core
  • These forces stay in balance until all of the hydrogen nuclei have been fused together
2 of 4

The end

Stars die when they run out of hydrogen nuclei to fuse together

  • The star swells, cools and turns red - beoming a 'red giant'
  • During this stage helium and other light elements fuse together to make heavier ones
  • Once all of the light elements have been used up fusion stops. The star collapses on itself, it heats up and turns from red to yellow to white - becoming a 'white dwarf'
  • This is much denser an smaller than it was
  • After a while it fades out and goes cold
3 of 4

Supernova and Black Holes

The death of bigger stars is much more spectacular

  • The collapse continues past the 'white dwarf'
  • It reverses into a cataclysmic explosion known as a 'supernova'
  • The explosion compresss the core of the star into a 'neutron star'
  • This is an extremely dense object composed of neutrons
  • If it is big enoug it becomes a 'black hole'
4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar Physics resources:

See all Physics resources »See all Astronomy resources »