The Process Of The Life Cycle Of A Star

1198 words - 5 pages

Professor Lawrence Krauss claims that, “In our galaxy, there are over 100 billion stars alone.” (“Extreme”). Each one of those stars is a factory which slowly builds the materials for the foundations of the universe (“Stars”). Stars are as varied as people. While they are all born the same way, they do not all die the same way. Some stars live fast and die young; others die slowly and quietly (“Extreme”). The life cycle of a star is violent, they churn, pulsate, and sometimes explode, but the products of its life are invaluable building blocks for the Universe. There is a process to the life cycle of a star.
The birth of a star is a process completely fueled by gravity (“Life”). All stars ...view middle of the document...

The evolution of a star’s birth is a slow process. It can take up to fifty million years for a star the size of our sun to fully mature (Redd). Many stars then go on to live long and brilliant lives, although not always (“Stars”).
{Two new paragraphs: Main Sequence, and Post-Main Sequence evolution)
The deaths of stars come in two varieties. The first variety is that of a slow fading into oblivion. After a long period of time, all of the hydrogen inside the core of a star will be drained, and the hydrogen fusion process within the core will cease. This cessation causes the core to begin to fall on itself, generating heat. Within other stellar layers, there is still sufficient hydrogen to continue fusing hydrogen into helium. The higher location in which the fusion occurs causes the other layers of the star to increase in size. The star is now referred to as a red giant (“Stars”). After this stage occurs and the star reaches the proper density, the helium in the star will begin to be fused into carbon. This helium burning phase usually lasts about 100 million years (“Life”). Once the helium fuel source is exhausted, the star will become a red supergiant, which will only live for a few tens of thousands of years (“Life”). However, as the star expands, it becomes increasingly unstable. Sudden energy surges rip through the star and start to blow away its outer layers. Eventually, all that will be left is the core of the former star, which is now called a white dwarf. White dwarfs are amazingly dense; just one cubic centimeter of it would fall straight through the Earth (“Extreme”). This stellar death only occurs in smaller stars, and contrary to their larger counterparts, they go out silently.
The death of a larger star however, is much more intense. The death of these stars result in very large explosions called supernovas. Every second, a supernova explosion occurs somewhere in the universe (Thompson). “Giant stars live fast, burn bright, and die hard,” said Mike Rowe, the narrator of the documentary How The Universe Works. A large star lives only for a short time because it is more massive, meaning it is more luminous. It also has more mass to burn, which when computed in the aforementioned equation M/L, causes the star to have a smaller lifetime. There are two main types of supernova explosions: Type I and Type II. A Type I explosion occurs when a...

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