Life Cycle of a Star

Updated: 12/4/2017
Life Cycle of a Star
You can find this storyboard in the following articles and resources:
Astronomy - Main Sequence Star

Life Cycle of a Star

Lesson Plans by Oliver Smith

Life as we know it wouldn’t exist without the Sun. This ball of gas emits huge amounts of radiation that has sustained life on Earth for millions of years, and it is categorized as a star. Our star is relatively insignificant, as it is one of millions of stars in our galaxy, and our galaxy is only one of the billions of galaxies in the universe. Each of these galaxies are made up of stars that follow similar life cycles. The following activities will introduce students to the cycles of main sequence and massive stars as well as nuclear fusion reactions.


Life Cycle of a Star

Storyboard Description

Life Cycle of a Star

Storyboard Text

  • STELLAR NEBULA
  • MAIN SEQUENCE STAR
  • RED GIANT
  • PLANETARY NEBULA
  • WHITE DWARF
  • BLACK DWARF
  • A nebula is a cloud of dust and gas that collapses under its own weight. As the cloud collapses, it gets warmer. When it reaches a certain temperature, nuclear fusion starts.
  • At this stage, the outward pressure caused by nuclear fusion is balanced by the force of gravity holding the star together. The energy created by the nuclear fusion is emitted as radiation.
  • When the star has used up its nuclear fuel (hydrogen), the star grows in size and the outer layers cool, making the star red.
  • These are some of the most beautiful objects that can be observed in the night sky. A planetary nebula occurs when the outer layers of the star are lost when moving from a red giant to a white dwarf.
  • A white dwarf is a hot, small, dense, dead star. This is the core of a star that remains after the outer layers have drifted off in the planetary nebula.
  • After a long period of time, the hot, dense core known as a white dwarf cools and stops radiating light.