Today, I am pleased to hand over my blog to Stephen Tremp, author of Breakthrough and the newly released Opening.
Sit back and enjoy your visit with Stephen Tremp! He is very fascinating - his topic is a favourite of mine! I know you will really enjoy it too!
Now, here's Stephen...
Now, here's Stephen...
Although the stars in the sky may seem like permanent heavenly fixtures that grace our night time sky, they follow a life-cycle similar to ours. In fact, some dying stars go one step further and “go out” in such spectacular fashion that their death sows the seeds for the birth of new stars and planets. Birth. Death. Rebirth. Our universe is an efficient world, wasting nothing.
Although the space in our universe may seem to be dark, empty, and lifeless, it is actually filled with thinly spread gas, mainly hydrogen, a little helium, and dust called interstellar medium. Immensely large clouds of interstellar medium are called nebulae and this is the birthplace of stars. Gravity clumps these atoms together and as these clumps gain mass, gravity continues to pull more atoms into the clump.
This process is called accretion and a protostar begins to form. The protostar is unstable and will only form into a star when equilibrium is achieved. This is the key to the formation and death of a star. Equilibrium, or the lack thereof. There is a balance when gravity pulling atoms to the center and gas pressure pushing heat and light outward is maintained. Gravity is trying to crunch the star and pressure is trying to blow the star about. Hence the need for equilibrium.
There are two parts to a star: the core where fusion happens and the outer gaseous shell. Hydrogen is pressed ever tighter in the core and heated to incredible temperatures. If the protostar does not achieve a temperature hot enough for fusion, then it becomes a brown dwarf, a star that is small and doesn’t shine very bright. However, if a critical temperature is reached in the center of the protostar and nuclear fusion is achieved, then viola, a star is born! Hydrogen at its core is fusing into helium. Fusion releases energy in the form of heat and light.
This battle between gravity pulling in and gas pressure pushing out will go on over the entire life span of the star. The star slowly contracts over billions of years to compensate for the heat and light energy lost. Once the hydrogen, then helium, then carbon is depleted and the equilibrium is no longer maintained, the star dies.
Here’s Where Things Get Exciting: Black holes and neutron stars form when stars die. While a star is burning, the heat in the star pushes out and balances the force of gravity. When the star's fuel is spent, and it stops burning, there is no heat left to counteract the force of gravity. Whatever material is left over collapses in on itself. How much mass the star had when it died determines what it becomes. Stars about the same size as the Sun become white dwarfs, which glow from left over heat. Stars that have about 3 times the mass of the Sun compact into neutron star. And a star with mass greater than 3 times the Sun's gets crushed into a single point, which we call a black hole.
More on black holes in a future post!!!
The stuff in the outer layer of the star gets blown out into space in a supernova explosion and contains the elements that are used to form new stars and planets. Hence, the circle of life. Very cool!
Fun Fact: Just a sugar cube of neutron star matter would weigh about one hundred million tons on Earth.
Fun Fact: Neutron stars spin and emit radiation in a pulsating beam of light that we call pulsars.
Stephen Tremp: author of the BREAKTHROUGH series, has a B.A. in information systems and an MBA degree in global management. Stephen has a background in information systems, management, and finance and draws from this varied and complex experiential knowledge to write one-of-a-kind thrillers.
His novels are enhanced by current events at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and other scientific research facilities around the world. These potential advances have the ability to change the way we perceive our universe and our place in it!
You can visit Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs. BREAKTHROUGH and OPENING can be downloaded:
Download Breakthrough: Amazon Kindle $1.99
Download Opening: Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Thank you Stephen for this exciting journey into the lifecycle of a star...quite fascinating. I hope all my dear Followers enjoyed themselves as much as I did.
What do you see when you look into the night sky? A favourite star perhaps? Do you wish upon the stars?