Evolution of Stars - Sunlike Stars

Evolution of Stars - Sunlike Stars

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Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Illustration showing the life of a Sun-like-star starting from the main sequence (the hydrogen-burning phase). This is the longest-lived part of the life-cycle, around 10 billion years (1). Once the core hydrogen is depleted, the star begins to swells into a subgiant about two or three times its original size - cooler and more orange, yet brighter because of its greater surface area (2). For a few hundred million years, the star burns hydrogen in a narrow shell on the outskirts of the inert helium core. Once the shell hydrogen runs out, the star expands into a red giant, up to 200 times its main-sequence radius (not shown to scale, 3). It then begins to shed its outermost layers in a series of pulsations (4), leading to the creation of a planetary nebula (not shown to scale, 5). Finally, once this has dispersed after around 10, 000 years, only the inert core remains - a white dwarf (6).

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Keywords: art, artwork, astronomy, astrophysics, core, death, evolution, expansion, illustration, main sequence, mass loss, nucleosynthesis, planetary nebula, pulsations, red giant, stars, subgiant, sun, sun-like, white dwarf

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