A star is a round of gas held together by its own gravity. The closestly star to planet is our really own Sun, so we have an example nearby that astronomers have the right to study in detail. The lessons us learn about the Sun can be used to other stars.

You are watching: What effect does gravity have on stars

A star"s life is a consistent struggle versus the force of gravity. Heaviness constantly functions to shot and cause the star come collapse. The star"s core, however is an extremely hot i beg your pardon creates push within the gas. This push counteracts the pressure of gravity, placing the star into what is referred to as hydrostatic equilibrium. A star is it s okay as lengthy as the star has actually this equilibrium between gravity pulling the star inwards and also pressure pushing the star outwards.

Diagram showing the lifecycles that Sun-like and massive stars. Click picture for larger version. (Credit: NASA and also the Night sky Network)

During most a star"s lifetime, the interior heat and also radiation is provided by nuclear reactions in the star"s core. This phase of the star"s life is called the key sequence.

Before a star get the key sequence, the star is contracting and also its main point is no yet warm or thick enough to begin nuclear reactions. So, till it reaches the main sequence, hydrostatic support is detailed by the heat created from the contraction.

At some point, the star will certainly run the end of material in its main point for those atom reactions. When the star runs the end of atom fuel, it pertains to the end of the time on the main sequence. If the star is large enough, it deserve to go with a collection of less-efficient nuclear reactions to develop internal heat. However, eventually these reactions will no longer generate adequate heat to assistance the star agains its own gravity and the star will certainly collapse.

Stellar Evolution

A star is born, lives, and dies, lot like every little thing else in nature. Using observations of stars in every phases of their lives, astronomers have constructed a lifecycle the all stars appear to go through. The fate and also life that a star depends mostly on it"s mass.

Hubble picture of the Eagle Nebula, a stellar nursery. (Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble heritage Team)

All stars begin their lives from the fallen of product in a large molecular cloud. This clouds are clouds that form between the stars and also consist generally of molecule gas and dust. Disturbance within the cloud causes knots to kind which have the right to then collapse under it"s own gravitational attraction. As the node collapses, the material at the center starts to warm up. That warm core is dubbed a protostar and will eventually come to be a star.

The cloud doesn"t collapse right into just one big star, however different knots of material will each come to be it"s own protostar. This is why this clouds of material are often referred to as stellar nuseries – castle are locations where countless stars form.

As the protostar gains mass, its core gets hotter and more dense. At part point, it will be warm enough and dense sufficient for hydrogen to start fusing into helium. It requirements to be 15 million Kelvin in the main point for fusion to begin. As soon as the protostar starts fusing hydrogen, the enters the "main sequence" step of the life.

Stars ~ above the main sequence room those that space fusing hydrogen right into helium in your cores. The radiation and heat native this reaction save the force of gravity from collapsing the star throughout this phase of the star"s life. This is additionally the longest phase of a star"s life. Our sun will spend about 10 billion year on the main sequence. However, a an ext massive star offers its fuel faster, and may just be on the main sequence for millions of years.

Eventually the core of the star runs out of hydrogen. Once that happens, the star deserve to no longer host up versus gravity. Its inside layers begin to collapse, i m sorry squishes the core, raising the pressure and temperature in the core of the star. While the main point collapses, the external layers of product in the star to expand outward. The star broadens to larger than that has ever before been – a couple of hundred time bigger! in ~ this point the star is dubbed a red giant.

What happens following depends on how the fixed of the star.

The Fate the Medium-Sized Stars

Hubble picture of planetary nebula IC 418, likewise known together the Spirograph Nebula. (Credit: NASA/Hubble heritage Team)

When a medium-sized star (up to about 7 time the mass of the Sun) will the red large phase of its life, the core will certainly have enough heat and pressure to reason helium to fuse into carbon, providing the main point a brief reprieve from its collapse.

Once the helium in the main point is gone, the star will burned most that its mass, developing a cloud of material called a planetary nebula. The main point of the star will certainly cool and shrink, leaving behind a small, hot ball dubbed a white dwarf. A white dwarf doesn"t collapse versus gravity because of the pressure of electrons driving away each other in that core.

The Fate of massive Stars

A red huge star with more than 7 times the fixed of the sunlight is fated because that a more spectacular ending.

Chandra X-ray photo of supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. The colors show different wavelengths of X-rays gift emitted through the issue that has actually been ejected from the central star. In the center is a spirit star. (Credit: NASA/CSC/SAO)

These high-mass stars walk through some of the same actions as the medium-mass stars. First, the external layers puffy out into a gigantic star, however even bigger, creating a red supergiant. Next, the main point starts to shrink, becoming an extremely hot and dense. Then, combination of helium into carbon begins in the core. When the it is provided of helium operation out, the core will certainly contract again, but due to the fact that the core has much more mass, it will end up being hot and also dense sufficient to fuse carbon into neon. In fact, when the supply of carbon is offered up, other blend reactions occur, till the main point is filled through iron atoms.

Up to this point, the combination reactions placed out energy, allowing the star to fight gravity. However, fusing iron calls for an input of energy, rather than developing excess energy. V a core complete of iron, the star will shed the fight against gravity.

The core temperature rises to over 100 billion degrees as the steel atoms are crushed together. The repulsive force between the positively-charged nuclei overcomes the pressure of gravity, and also the main point recoils out from the love of the star in one explosive shock wave. In among the many spectacular events in the Universe, the shock propels the material away native the star in a incredible explosion referred to as a supernova. The material spews off right into interstellar space.

See more: What Is 5 Foot 3 In Cm ) Conversion, 5 Foot 3 Inches To Centimeters

About 75% that the mass of the star is ejected into room in the supernova. The fate of the left-over core counts on its mass. If the left-over core is around 1.4 to 5 time the mass of our Sun, it will collapse right into a ghost star. If the core is larger, it will certainly collapse right into a black hole. To turn right into a ghost star, a star must start with about 7 to 20 time the fixed of the Sun before the supernova. Only stars with an ext than 20 times the fixed of the sun will end up being black holes.