Life and Death of a Star
How I remember it from a physics class I took five years ago.
- •Stellar nebulaDust and hydrogen clouds
- •Main sequence starGravity compresses the hydrogen and dust so tight that it burns and glows and we can see it from earth.
- •Red GiantFusion pushes outwards and Gravity pushes in. After billions of years of this, the star gets big and irritated.
- •White DwarfThen all the energy gets burnt off and all that is left is pure carbon. One million times more dense than the earth. A real life diamond in the sky.
- •Once all the hydrogen is truly burnt off, the carbon white dwarf starts creating iron. Iron absorbs energy and is therefor toxic to a star. Once a star starts generating iron it has seconds to "live".
- •It explodes and becomes a supernova.
- •Neutron StarAfter the supernova explosion a corpse is left over. That's called a neutron star. Solid, nucleonic matter. One sugar cube sized piece of a neutron star would weigh as much as all the cars in America combined.
- •Black holeSometimes instead of becoming a neutron star, a supernova explosion results in a black hole. I'm unclear as to why this happens.