VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VICTOR HABBICK VISIONS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Life of a star. Computer illustration of stages in the life of a star like our own Sun. The star is born (upper right) from the gravitational contrac- tion of a cloud of gas (nebula). Bipolar jets can be seen coming from the centre of the star's accretion disc. Due to the contraction, the temperature of the gas increases until it triggers the nuclear fusion of hydrogen atoms to become a star (lower centre). After all the hydrogen has been used up the star swells to become a red giant (far left). Eventually the outer layers are shed exposing the helium-rich core of the star which becomes a white dwarf (lower right).
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