Stellar Life Cycles
Stars are born in nebulae, vast clouds of gas and dust. Throughout their lives, which span millions to billions of years, they undergo dramatic changes, eventually becoming white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes.
Supernova Chemical Factories
Supernovae are colossal stellar explosions. They play a crucial role in the universe by forging elements heavier than iron, which are then scattered, seeding the cosmos with the building blocks for planets and life.
Variable Stars Pulsate
Variable stars like Cepheids and RR Lyrae exhibit changes in brightness over time. Their pulsations, used as standard candles, help astronomers measure vast interstellar distances with remarkable precision.
Magnetars: Mighty Magnets
Magnetars, a type of neutron star, boast the most intense magnetic fields in the universe—over a trillion times stronger than Earth's. They can release energy bursts that outshine entire galaxies.
Binary Systems Dance
Many stars are part of binary systems where two stars orbit a common center of mass. Some binaries are close enough to exchange mass, dramatically affecting their evolution and sometimes triggering supernovae.
Hypergiant Stars' Fury
Hypergiants, among the universe's largest stars, live fast and die young. Their extreme luminosity drives powerful winds, shedding vast amounts of material and influencing their galactic neighborhood.
The Sun's Quiet Power
Our Sun, a seemingly ordinary star, is a powerhouse of nuclear reactions. Every second, it fuses about 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium, releasing the energy that sustains life on Earth.