Low Mass Star Cycle

Low Mass Star Cycle
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  • This is a Nebula, a giant cloud of gas and dust.  After some time the hydrogen gas in the nebula is pulled together by gravity, which causes the nebula to spin. (white lines represent spinning)
  • As it begins to spin faster, the nebula heats up and becomes a protostar.  When it heats up and nuclear fusion happens, the cloud starts to glow brightly, contracts and becomes stable.  This means it's now a main sequence star and will remain in the stage for billions of years.
  • When the star glows, hydrogen that is in the core is turned into helium by nuclear fusion.  When the hydrogen starts to run out and the star is no longer producing heat.  The core becomes unstable and contracts.
  • However, the outer part of the star, which is mostly hydrogen, starts to expand.  While it's expanding, the star cools down and begins to glow red.  This is called the red giant stage.
  • The helium the fuses into carbon, and the core colapses once more.  While the core colapses, the outer layer of the star are forced out.  A planetary nebula is then formed.
  • The core will stay as a white dwarf, but eventually turn into a black dwarf.
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