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Chapter 5: Cosmic foundations for origins of life - stars.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 5: Cosmic foundations for origins of life - stars."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 5: Cosmic foundations for origins of life - stars

2 Stellar evolution: forming the elements for biolmolecules and planets…. Stars are fusion reactors that convert lighter elements into heavier ones, liberating energy (from E=mc^2) They therefore continuously evolve as their fuels are used up. H burns to He, He burns to C, etc… Stellar end-states: white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes. In all of these cases, significant fraction of stellar mass, ejected into interstellar medium Planets, and biomolecules made out of these materials

3 Energy liberated when light atomic nuclei undergo fusion! (eg. Proton-proton reaction) Two protons colliding at high enough speed, undergo fusion. Products: a deuteron (heavy water), a positron (positively charged electron), and a neutrino (very weakly interacting particle) + energy release: Special Relativity: Energy release per fusion is proportional to mass difference between products and reactants

4 Energy production in the Suns core – the proton-proton chain

5 Net result of p-p burn: For each Helium-4 nucleus produced: - Consume 4 protons - Liberate energy and 2 neutrinos - Neutrinos arise from weak interaction. eg. they arise during conversion of a proton to a neutron in building a deuteron Nuclear reactions yield predictable neutrino fluxes from the Sun that directly reflect reaction rates

6 Stellar temperatures: Stars have different colours Corresponds to different temperatures from black body curves Note *huge* (and harmful) UV fluxes produced by massive stars (life possible on planets around them?)

7 Spectral Classification of Stars – Consequence of stellar temperatures: - Stellar spectra can be divided into spectral classes of stars – O,B,A,F,G,K,M - Atomic theory: this represents a sequence of decreasing temperature - hot stars are more completely ionized than cool stars so see fewer absorption features. - The Sun is a G2 star.

8 Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram: Plotting L vs. T Luminosity L and temperature T of a star are independent physical properties of a star. -Temperature correlates with colour of a star (hot is blue, cool is red). L varies by factor of 100 million! -Plot L of a star vs. its colour on a diagram: find that these are correlated with one another. Known as colour-magnitude diagram. - Most stars occur along main-sequence, where they burn hydrogen.

9 H-R Diagrams (L vs. T) of Nearest, and brightest stars Stars within 5pc of Sun100 brightest stars in the sky

10 STELLAR RADII : Range from 0.08 of the Sun, to 630 times the Suns radius (Betelgeuse) Giants: radii of 10 – 100 solar radius (Mira is Red Giant) Supergiants: up to 1000 solar radii

11 Main Sequence: Stars confined to well defined band from top left (high T, high L), to bottom right (low T, low L). Temperature range over main sequence: 3,000K (M type) – 30,000 K (O type); 1 decade in temperature Range in luminosities over 8 decades! - partly explained by black body relation; At top end – stars are hot and large: blue supergiants At bottom end – stars are cool and small: red dwarfs O and B stars extremely rare: one in 10,000 Stars spend most of their life on main-sequence burning hydrogen

12 Off the main sequence: Red giants (upper right of H-R diagram: high L, low T); and white dwarfs (lower left: low L, high T). Red giants burn hydrogen in a shell White dwarfs hard to detect – very faint Sun will go through red-giant phase and end up as a cooling white dwarf. Red giant will swell to orbit beyond Earth… consequences for life!

13 Main sequence is a mass sequence: ie stellar mass determines stellar properties

14 After 10 billion years, core of solar mass star uses up H, and consists of He. Fusion ceases at centre of core, and it begins to contract. Star leaves main sequence. Structure of Red Giant star – furious hydrogen burning occurs in a shell gradually moving out through unburned material. Non-burning He ash accumulates in core.

15 Red Giant Branch: Subgiant Branch: Stage 7 – Stage 8; -H burns in a shell, He ash accumulates in core. Red Giant Branch: Stage 8 – stage 9: - Outer layers of star so cool that convection throughout star occurs – so ascend a vertical track

16 Tip of Giant Branch: -Radius is 100 solar radii (size of Mercurys orbit) - He core is 1/1000 size of star - few times larger than the Earth. 25% of stellar mass locked up in core - 10,000 times the luminosity of the Sun. - Core density, about 100 million kg/ cubic metre. - Envelope density, about 1/1000 kg/ cubic metre

17 At stage 9 – tip of Giant Branch – central temperatures are 100 million K, at densities of kg/cubic metre, conditions allow ignition of helium ash accumulating in stellar core: Beryllium – 8 highly unstable. Decays very quickly into 2 alpha particles again - about ! SLIGHT CHANGE IN STRENGTH OF NUCLEAR FORCE AND THIS REACTION IS IMPOSSIBLE! Resonant interaction between Be and alpha particle allow second reaction above to occur - carbon is the ash Helium fusion: the Triple-Alpha Process fine tuning!

18 Horizontal Branch – Helium Main-Sequence Helium Flash: Explosive onset of He burning at tip of Red Giant Branch (RGB). (stage 9) He burning core (stage 10) known as Horizontal Branch.

19 Ascending the Asymptotic Giant Branch – the Accumulation of Carbon When He in core of star on Horizontal Branch is used up – He shell burn commences – star moves off Horizontal Branch. Now have 2 burning shells, H, and deeper in, He – with Carbon ash accumulating in core Star moves up asymptotic giant branch increasing in size and luminosity. Carbon core continues to contract

20 Horizontal Branch (stage 10): He core burn – and H shell burn. The Main- Sequence for He burning. Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stage 10 – stage 11: Shell burning for both He and H. Carbon ash accumulates in core. Produces much larger red star – Red Supergiant [500 solar radii – swallows Mars!, surface temperature 4000 K, central T 250 million K.

21 5 billion years into the future – the fate of the Sun Planetary nebula – NGC ejection of envelope of star leaving a degenerate stellar core (white dwarf). - White dwarf - Outer edge of envelope

22 Evolution of Massive Stars Stars more massive than 8 solar masses lead to supernova explosions High mass stars move almost horizontally (rather than vertically) in post main- sequence evolution: - luminosity of star stays fairly constant but radius increases,reducing surface temperature High mass stars fuse carbon, oxygen, and other elements

23 For massive stars (more than 8 solar masses) – series of burning shells – ash of burn above it igniting producing ash beneath it. Creates an onion- like series of burning layers…. at bottom of which is iron ash. Carbon burns for 1000 yr, oxygen for a yr, silicon for a week. Iron core grows for less than a day!

24 Iron is natures most stable element Small nuclei liberate energy by fusion Elements more massive than iron liberate energy by fission into smaller nuclei. IRON DOES NOT BURN! Degenerate iron core is end-state of nuclear fusion in interior.

25 Carbon burning: (a) occurs at T= 600 million K, while (b) occurs at 200 million K

26 The route to iron: Oxygen Fusion: Silicon Burning: Building up to Nickel (T = 3 billion K !) Nickel-56 quickly decays via cobalt- 56 into stable iron-56

27 Synthesizing Elements Beyond Iron Occurs by neutron capture to iron (which just changes the isotope), followed by radioactive decay into stable element: eg. Neutron capture occurs during supernova explosion (high density and temperature) – either by rapid (r) or slow (s) process Elements produced during explosion much rarer because time available to produce them is so short

28 Nucleosynthesis in stars: explains abundances of the elements Sharp drop in abundance as go to higher atomic number – reflects increasing Coulomb barrier to fusion Peaks and troughs in distribution – reflect stable closed shell nuclei, etc.

29 Supernova remnant: the Crab nebula (supernova seen by Chinese astronomers in 1054 A.D.)

30 Canadian Galactic Plane Survey (CGPS): the interstellar medium… stirred by supernova explosions and stellar winds….Map of atomic hydrogen. [Midplane of Milky Way - near constellation Perseus]


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