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  • What are the stages in the life cycle of a star?
    What are the stages in the life cycle of a star?
    This is going to be a long answer. So, it’s better to grab some popcorn and let us deal with this question. There are two possible life cycles of a star. The cycle is different for small stars and big stars. What life cycle will a star follow is determined by its solar mass. Stages in the life cycle of a small star: Protostar: Stars, as you all know, are formed in nebulae. Dust particles start accumulating in globules when there is cause a gravitational collapse in the nebulae. They accumulate as a reaction to the constant gravitational collapse and this contraction starts heating them up and they start developing their gravity and attract other particles towards them. Some of these globules do not reach the star and later become their planets. These globules heat up to 15 million degree Celsius. They are called protostars.   Main sequence star: Once the temperature reaches 15 million degrees, the hydrogen starts its fusion process into helium. This fusion in a small star can last for billions of years. This globule forms the core of the star. This fusion means that the contraction of particles stops and energy is radiated outside and the star starts shining. The star is then called the main sequence star. The sun is a main sequence star. (Image below: Main Sequence Star) ​​​​​​​   Red Giant: Once the star has converted all of its hydrogens into helium, it starts cooling down and the helium starts fusing into carbon. This process extends the star’s surface spontaneously reducing its temperature. The star literally bloats up and is then called a red giant. The red giant is significantly cooler and larger than the original star. Once the helium in the core runs out, the star starts its final journey. (Image Below: Predicted Red Giant Sizes) ​​​​​​​​​​​​​   Planetary Nebula: The outer surfaces start dissipating in gaseous forms and start going away from the core of the star and these nebulae form new stars and planets in them. The planetary nebulae last until only the core of the star remains(nearly 80% of original mass). (Image Below: Planetary Nebula) ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​   Dwarf: After the outer gases have dissipated, the core usually of iron by now, shines with a bright white light which slowly dims as the star keeps losing its energy. This is known as a white dwarf. When the dwarf has stopped shining, this is known as a black dwarf.   Stages in the life cycle of a large star: Supergiant: Large Stars have a different journey after reaching the main sequence stage. Once the hydrogen runs out the inner core of this star starts fusing in non-uniform patterns forming layers of different elements inside and around an iron core. These stars expand vehemently and form extremely large stars. These are called as Supergiants. Supergiants exist in two forms and keep changing form from blue to red although the red one is more common. (Image Below: Imagery of a blue supergiant)​​​​​​​     Supernova: Red giants have an unstable core and once the core fuse more and have a significant amount of iron in the core, it becomes unstable. The resultant star is extremely unstable and has gravitational anomalies within its core. When these different physical anomalies exist there is a chance of a pressure degeneracy which leads to gravitational collapse and a violent explosion of the star known as a supernova. Supernovas are huge and are the birthplace of new stars. They are extremely beautiful and bright. (Image Below: Supernova)   Neutron star and Black Holes: The remnant of the supernova can either become a neutron star or a black hole. Neutron Stars are fast-spinning stars with an extremely dense body and a very strong gravitational pull. If the remaining core is large enough it collapses into a singularity and forms what is called a black hole. Black holes have no surface but its gravitational pull is high enough to distort the dimensions of space.(Image Below: CGI Representation of a black hole from the movie Interstellar) ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​       Thank You For Your Time!

  • What are binary stars?
    What are binary stars?
    As the name suggests these are two stars orbiting around a common center of mass. Binary star is the most common type of multiple star system. More than four-fifth of the light that we see are part of the multiple star system. One could be brighter than the other or both can have the same brightness. Binary stars provide information about the mass of a star, the size, the temperature and the radius. These stars are classified based on their orbits, wide, close, visual, spectroscopic, eclipsing and astrometric binaries. Wide binaries are the stars that evolve on the same orbit yet are spread apart from each other and will have very little impact on each other. Close binaries evolve nearby,being able to transfer their mass from one to another and at times pull in the smaller star completely. The visual binary classification is made based on how they are obseved. These stars are wide enough that they can be obseved through a telescope or a binocular. Five-ten of the visible stars are part of the visual binaries. Spectroscopic binaries are classified so if their emit a certain wavelength. When viewed through a telescope, they appear to be close. Eclipsing binaries will have an orbit that are at an angle based on the line of sight from the Earth. This angled orbit will make it look as though is passing infrornt of the other causing it to look like an eclipse. Astrometric binaries are ones that are too dim to be seen and thus can only be infered as they seem to be dancing around in an empty space.

  • How many stars are in our galaxy?
    How many stars are in our galaxy?
    Hello : My name is Vishnu and I am doing 5th Grade. How can the answer be 9 ? . In our galaxy, would we not have millions of stars ?Pl clarify.Thank youVishnu

  • Is the sun the largest star?
    Is the sun the largest star?
    It is false.

  • How do scientists hope to find out if there is life on other planets?
    How do scientists hope to find out if there is life on other planets?
    They hope to find out by using radio telescopes to listen for signals of life there.

  • What makes the sun an unusual star?
    What makes the sun an unusual star?
    The sun is an unusual star because it does not have any nearby stars circling it as most stars do.

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