DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Red giant star. Artwork showing a red giant star as seen from a nearby planet. Stars reach this stage towards the end of their life when most of their hydrogen content has been converted into helium. They are formed by a compact core, where helium is burning, and an outer shell where the remaining hydrogen is burning. The diameter of red giant stars is about 25 times the diameter of the Sun and the surface temperature is about 3000 Kelvin. The destiny of a star after the red giant phase depends strongly on its mass. Massive stars (50 solar masses) die violently in a supernova explosion which may leave at the core of the explosion a remnant such as a neutron star.
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