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Updated: 9/23/2020
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  • Hello Eric. Yes I have. And a star is born in a nebula which is a very large cloud of gas & dust in space.
  • Then, the dense areas of gas take  on a definite shape & are called protostars.
  • Hi Emma. I have a question for you. Have you heard about the cycle of a star? If yes, can you tell me about it.
  • And when the core of a protostar reaches 27,000,000°F, the nuclear fusion begins and the protostar ignites. Then, the protostar becomes a star.
  • Next, Once the star has ignited, it becomes a main sequence star. Then it fuses hydrogen to form helium, releasing amounts of energy. It takes about 10 billion years to consume all the hydrogen in a main sequence star
  • WoW! So what happened next?
  • After that, the Red giant happened. Fusion of helium into carbon begins. The outer shell expands from 1 to 40 million miles across (10 to 100 times larger than the sun.) And the red giant lasted for about 100 million years.
  • Well what happened next depends on how much mass the star has. If the star has a high mass the red giant will become a Red Supergiant, but if it has low mass the red giant will become a white dwarf.
  • That is interesting. I'm wondering what happened next.
  • If it becomes a white dwarf the stars outer layer drift away & become a planetary nebula. And a white dwarf is about 8,000 miles in diameter. Then, after some years it cools down and the light will fade through the visible light spectrum (blue to red to back). Then, the black dwarf will continue to generate gravity and low radio waves.
  • Fascinating, and what happens if the red giant becomes red supergiant?
  • If it becomes a red supergiant it fuses all of the carbon into iron until there is no more fuel left to consume and the supergiant will collapse in less than a second, causing a massive explosion called a supernova.
  • OMG!! So what happens if the core survives or doesn't?
  • So if the core survives the supernova and if it has a mass of less than 3 solar masses, it becomes a neutron star. And if the surviving core is greater than 3 solar masses, then a black hole forms. The black hole is so dense and massive and it generates so much gravity that not even light can escape it. And that is the end of the cycle of a star.
  • You're Welcome Eric and thank you.
  • Thank you so much Emma, I learned a lot today. You are so smart and a great explainer.
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