How I remember it from a physics class I took five years ago.
  1. Stellar nebula
    Dust and hydrogen clouds
  2. Main sequence star
    Gravity compresses the hydrogen and dust so tight that it burns and glows and we can see it from earth.
  3. Red Giant
    Fusion pushes outwards and Gravity pushes in. After billions of years of this, the star gets big and irritated.
  4. White Dwarf
    Then 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.
  5. 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".
  6. It explodes and becomes a supernova.
  7. Neutron Star
    After 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.
  8. Black hole
    Sometimes instead of becoming a neutron star, a supernova explosion results in a black hole. I'm unclear as to why this happens.