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Physics - Star Birth & Death

Star Birth

After the Big Bang, it took 300,000 years for stable hydrogen and helium atoms to form. Gradually those atoms began to clump together into interstellar gas clouds called nebulae.

Over the course of the next 300 million years, these clouds grew. They attracted more and more atoms and so became increasingly dense and hot.

 

Nuclear Explosions

Eventually, the centres of these clouds became so hot and dense that they exploded in huge nuclear reactions. Hydrogen atoms began to fuse together and the clouds were transformed into blazing balls of fire. The first stars were born.

 

Star Death

How long a star lives depends upon its mass. The bigger they are, the quicker they die. This might seem odd, but the more mass a star has, then the hotter it gets. The hotter it gets, the quicker t exhausts its fuel supply.

 

The Death of the Sun

Our nearest star, the Sun, will exhaust its supply of hydrogen fuel in around 4 billion years time. The Sun’s core will collapse under its own gravity. At the same time, its atmosphere will become unstable and start to expand. This will transform the Sun into a huge red giant star.

This is not good news for Earth. Closer planets such as Mercury will be engulfed by the swelling Sun. Earth will be vaporised and all life on our planet will end.

 

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