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The Formation and Structure of Stars Chapter 9. The Big Picture Stars exist because of gravity. Gravity causes interstellar material to collapse to form.

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Presentation on theme: "The Formation and Structure of Stars Chapter 9. The Big Picture Stars exist because of gravity. Gravity causes interstellar material to collapse to form."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Formation and Structure of Stars Chapter 9

2 The Big Picture Stars exist because of gravity. Gravity causes interstellar material to collapse to form stars. Gravity determines how much energy stars generate. Gravity dictates how stars evolve and die. Mass determines gravity; Mass is the #1 property of a star.

3 The space between the stars is not empty, but filled with very dilute gas and dust, producing some of the most beautiful objects in the sky. We are interested in the ISM because: a) dense interstellar clouds are the birth place of stars b) dark clouds alter and absorb the light from stars behind them The Interstellar Medium (ISM)

4 Various Appearances of the ISM

5 Three Kinds of Nebulae Emission Nebula Reflection Nebula Dark Nebula

6 The Fox Fur Nebula NGC ) Emission Nebulae (H II Regions) A very hot star illuminates a cloud of hydrogen gas; Its ultraviolet light ionizes hydrogen; Electrons recombine with protons, cascade down to the ground state, and produce emission lines, dominated by red H  photons. The Keyhole Nebula

7 2) Reflection Nebulae Star illuminates a nearby cloud of gas and dust; Blue light is much more likely to be scattered by dust than red light; Reflection nebula appears blue. *The same physics for the blue sky and the red sunset!

8 Emission and Reflection Nebulae

9 3) Dark Nebulae Barnard 86 Dense clouds of gas and dust absorb the light from the stars behind; Appear dark in front of the brighter background, which is often an emission nebula. Horsehead Nebula

10 Interstellar Reddening Visible Infrared Barnard 68 Blue light is strongly scattered and absorbed by interstellar (dust) clouds. Red light can more easily penetrate the cloud, but is still absorbed to an extent (“interstellar extinction”). (Infrared radiation is hardly absorbed.) Interstellar clouds make background stars appear redder. The physics of reflection nebula revisited!

11 Interstellar Absorption Lines The interstellar medium produces absorption lines in the spectra of stars. Distinguished from stellar absorption lines via: a) Absorption from wrong ionization states Narrow absorption lines from Ca II: Too low ionization state and too narrow for the O star in the background; multiple lines of same transition b) Narrow (sharp) lines (temperature & density too low) c) Multiple components (several clouds of ISM with different radial velocities)

12 Four Components of the ISM Component Temperature (K) Density (atoms/cm 3 ) Gas Percent of total mass Molecular clouds 20 – – 10 5 Molecules (H 2 and others) ~ 25% HI clouds50 – 1501 – 1000 Neutral hydrogen Other atoms ionized ~ 25% Intercloud medium 10 3 – Partially ionized~ 50% Coronal gas10 5 – –4 – 10 –3 Highly ionized, from hot stars and supernovae ~ 5% Note: Emission nebulae (HII regions) occur only near very hot stars, so they comprise very small fraction of the ISM. EXTRA

13 Various Views of the Interstellar Medium Infrared observations reveal the presence of cool, dusty gas. X-ray observations reveal the presence of hot gas.

14 Shocks triggering star formation Henize 206 (infrared)

15 The Contraction of a Protostar

16 From Protostars to Stars Ignition of 4 1 H → 4 He fusion processes Star emerges from the enshrouding dust cocoon (T Tauri stage)

17 Evidence of Star Formation Nebula around S Monocerotis: Contains many massive and very young stars, including T Tauri stars: strongly variable and bright in the infrared.

18 Protostellar Disks and Jets – Herbig-Haro Objects Disks of matter accreted onto the protostar (“accretion disks”) often lead to the formation of jets (directed outflows or bipolar outflows) seen as Herbig-Haro objects

19 Example: Herbig-Haro Object HH34

20 Globules Bok globules: ~ 10 – 1000 solar masses Contracting to form protostars

21 EGGs Evaporating gaseous globules (“EGGs”): Newly forming stars exposed by the ionizing radiation from nearby massive stars

22 Energy Generation (§7.2) Energy generation in the sun (and all other stars): nuclear fusion = fusing together 2 or more lighter nuclei to produce heavier ones. Nuclear fusion can generate energy up to the production of iron. For elements heavier than iron, energy is produced by nuclear fission. Binding energy due to the strong force

23 Energy generation in the Sun: The Proton-Proton Chain (§7.2) Basic reaction: 4 1 H → 4 He + energy 4 protons have 0.048x kg (= 0.7 %) more mass than 4 He.  Energy gain = mc 2 = 0.43x joules per reaction Need large proton speed (high temperature) to overcome Coulomb barrier (electrical repulsion between protons). Sun needs reactions, transforming 5 million tons of mass into energy every second!. T ≥ 10 7 K = 10 million K

24 The Solar Neutrino Problem The solar interior cannot be observed directly because it is highly opaque to radiation. But neutrinos can penetrate huge amounts of material without being absorbed. Davis solar neutrino experiment Early solar neutrino experiments detected a much lower flux of neutrinos than expected ( → the “solar neutrino problem”). Recent results have proven that neutrinos change (“oscillate”) between different types (“flavors”), thus solving the solar neutrino problem.

25 The Source of Stellar Energy Recall from our discussion of the Sun: Stars produce energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium. In the Sun, this happens primarily through the proton-proton (PP) chain Basic reaction: 4 1 H → 4 He + energy

26 26

27 Fusion into Heavier Elements than C & O: Occurs only in very massive stars (more than 8 solar masses) —why?. Requires very high temperatures (why?).

28 Stellar Models —the theory of stars Divide a star’s interior into concentric shells — “Onion skin layer model” Within each shell and between neighboring shells, require that the laws of physics are obeyed: Conservation of Mass Conservation of Energy Hydrostatic Equilibrium Energy Transport Four laws of stellar structure:

29 Hydrostatic Equilibrium In each layer: This condition uniquely determines the interior structure of the star. Stable stars on a narrow strip (main sequence) in the H-R diagram. Outward force of thermal pressure Inward force of gravity (weight of all layers above) =

30 Energy Transport Energy generated in the star’s center must be transported to the surface. Inner layers of the Sun: Radiation Outer layers of the Sun: Convection Energy carried by photons Energy carried by convective motion of large masses

31 Stellar Structure Temperature, density and pressure decreasing Energy generation via nuclear fusion Energy transport via radiation Energy transport via convection Flow of energy Star’s total mass determines which part of the star has convection or radiation (cf. Ch. 10) Sun

32 Calculating the stellar structure: Take the four equations representing the four laws of stellar structure and solve them simultaneously! Hydrostatic equilibrium Energy transport Conservation of mass Conservation of energy Star’s mass (and chemical composition) completely determines the properties of the star.

33 Interactions of Stars and their Environment Supernova explosions of the most massive stars inflate and blow away remaining gas of star forming regions. Young, massive stars excite the remaining gas of their star forming regions, forming H II regions.

34 The Life of Main-Sequence Stars As stars gradually exhaust their hydrogen fuel, they become brighter, and evolve off the zero-age main sequence.

35 The Lifetimes of Stars on the Main Sequence

36 The Orion Nebula: a region of active star formation

37 The Trapezium The Orion Nebula The 4 trapezium stars: Brightest, young stars (< 2 million years old) in the central region of the Orion nebula X-ray image: ~ 1000 very young, hot stars Infrared image: ~ 50 very young, cool, low- mass stars Only one of the trapezium stars is hot enough to ionize hydrogen in the Orion nebula

38 The Becklin- Neugebauer object (BN): Hot star, just reaching the main sequence Kleinmann-Low nebula (KL): Cluster of cool, young protostars detectable only in the infrared Spectral types of the trapezium stars Protostars with protoplanetary disks B3 B1 O6

39 Stellar Structure— Cause and Effect → Mass (M) → Gravity (weight) → Pressure → Density Radius Temperature → Fusion Rates → → Luminosity Available Fuel Time of Stability Main Sequence Lifetime (“Life Expectancy”) Hydrostatic equilibrium Pressure-Temperature Thermostat ~ M L ~ M 3.5 Lifetime = M/L ~ M –2.5 Mass-Luminosity Relation

40 “Red” in Astronomy red emission nebulae red supergiants/giants/dwarfs red shift (in the Doppler effect) Interstellar reddening blue reflection nebulae red sunset blue sky


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