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Leaving the Main Sequence The core begins to collapse – H shell heats up and H fusion begins there – there is less gravity from above to balance this.

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Presentation on theme: "Leaving the Main Sequence The core begins to collapse – H shell heats up and H fusion begins there – there is less gravity from above to balance this."— Presentation transcript:


2 Leaving the Main Sequence The core begins to collapse – H shell heats up and H fusion begins there – there is less gravity from above to balance this pressure – so the outer layers of the star expand – the star is now in the subgiant phase of its life

3 Stellar Mass and Fusion The mass of a main-sequence star determines its core pressure and temperature. Stars of higher mass have higher core temperature and more rapid fusion, making those stars both more luminous and shorter-lived. Stars of lower mass have cooler cores and slower fusion rates, giving them smaller luminosities and longer lifetimes. © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.

4 High-Mass Stars > 8M Sun Low-Mass Stars < 2M Sun Intermediate- Mass Stars Brown Dwarfs

5 When core hydrogen fusion ceases, a main- sequence star becomes a giant When hydrogen in the core is no longer fusing into helium, the star can no longer support its weight The enormous weight from the outer layers compresses hydrogen in the layers just outside the core enough to initiate shell hydrogen fusion. This extra internal heat causes the outer layers to expand into a giant star.


7 Helium fusion begins at the center of a giant While the exterior layers expand, the helium core continues to contract and eventually becomes hot enough (100 million Kelvin) for helium to begin to fuse into carbon and oxygen – core helium fusion – 3 He  C + energy and C + He  O + energy – occurs rapidly - called the Helium Flash

8 Helium Flash The thermostat of a low-mass red giant is broken because degeneracy pressure supports the core. Core temperature rises rapidly when helium fusion begins. Helium fusion rate skyrockets until thermal pressure takes over and expands the core again. © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.

9 Life Track after Helium Flash Models show that a red giant should shrink and become less luminous after helium fusion begins in the core.

10 Life Track after Helium Flash Observations of star clusters agree with those models. Helium-burning stars are found on a horizontal branch on the H-R diagram.

11 Red Giants The He core collapses until it heats to 10 8 K – He fusion begins ( He  C) – sometimes called the “ triple-  process ” The star, called a Red Giant, is once again stable. – gravity vs. pressure from He fusion reactions – red giants create and release most of the Carbon from which organic molecules (and life) are made

12 Red Giants Helium-burning stars neither shrink nor grow because core thermostat is temporarily fixed.

13 Double Shell Burning After core helium fusion stops, helium fuses into carbon in a shell around the carbon core, and hydrogen fuses to helium in a shell around the helium layer. This double shell–burning stage never reaches equilibrium—fusion rate periodically spikes upward in a series of thermal pulses. With each spike, convection dredges carbon up from core and transports it to surface. © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.

14 Planetary Nebulae When the Red Giant exhausts its He fuel – the C core collapses – Low mass stars – Low mass stars don ’ t have enough gravitational energy to heat to 6 x 10 8 K (temperature where Carbon fuses) The He & H burning shells overcome gravity – the outer envelope of the star is gently blown away planetary nebula – this forms a planetary nebula Movie. Click to play.

15 Planetary Nebulae

16 Cat ’ s Eye Nebula Twin Jet Nebula

17 Planetary Nebulae Ring Nebula Hourglass Nebula The collapsing Carbon core becomes a White Dwarf

18 End of Fusion Fusion progresses no further in a low-mass star because the core temperature never grows hot enough for fusion of heavier elements (some helium fuses to carbon to make oxygen). Degeneracy pressure supports the white dwarf against gravity. © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.

19 Earth's Fate The Sun's luminosity will rise to 1000 times its current level—too hot for life on Earth. © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.

20 Earth's Fate The Sun's radius will grow to near current radius of Earth's orbit. © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.

21 Someday it will all be over for Earth…

22 What have we learned? What are the life stages of a low-mass star? – Hydrogen fusion in core (main sequence) – Hydrogen fusion in shell around contracting core (red giant) – Helium fusion in core (horizontal branch) – Double shell burning (red giant) How does a low-mass star die? – Ejection of hydrogen and helium in a planetary nebula leaves behind an inert white dwarf. © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.

23 17.3 Life as a High-Mass Star Our goals for learning: – What are the life stages of a high-mass star? – How do high-mass stars make the elements necessary for life? – How does a high-mass star die? © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.

24 High Mass Main Sequence Stars The CNO cycle is another nuclear fusion reaction which converts Hydrogen into Helium by using Carbon as a catalyst. Effectively 4 H nuclei go IN and 1 He nucleus comes OUT.

25 High Mass Main Sequence Stars CNO cycle begins at 15 million degrees and becomes more dominant at higher temperatures. The C nucleus has a (+6) charge, so the incoming proton must be moving even faster to overcome the electromagnetic repulsion!! The Sun (G2) -- CNO generates 10% of its energy F0 dwarf -- CNO generates 50% of its energy O & B dwarfs -- CNO generates most of the energy

26 Life Stages of High-Mass Stars Late life stages of high-mass stars are similar to those of low-mass stars: – Hydrogen core fusion (main sequence) – Hydrogen shell burning (supergiant) – Helium core fusion (supergiant) © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.

27 Supergiants They have enough gravitational energy to heat up to 6 x 10 8 K. – C fuses into O C is exhausted, core collapses until O fuses. The cycle repeats itself. – O  Ne  Mg  Si  Fe What happens to the high mass stars when they exhaust their He fuel?


29 Multiple Shell Burning Advanced nuclear burning proceeds in a series of nested shells.

30 Supergiants on the H-R Diagram As the shells of fusion around the core increase in number: – thermal pressure overbalances the lower gravity in the outer layers – the surface of the star expands – the surface of the star cools The star moves toward the upper right of H-R Diagram – it becomes a red supergiant – example: Betelgeuse For the most massive stars: – the core evolves too quickly for the outer layers to respond – they explode before even becoming a red supergiant

31 The Iron (Fe) Problem The supergiant has an inert Fe core which collapses & heats – Fe can not fuse – It has the lowest mass per nuclear particle of any element – It can not fuse into another element without creating mass So the Fe core continues to collapse until it is stopped by electron degeneracy. (like a White Dwarf)

32 Supernova BUT… the force of gravity increases as the mass of the Fe core increases – Gravity overcomes electron degeneracy – Electrons are smashed into protons  neutrons The neutron core collapses until abruptly stopped by neutron degeneracy – this takes only seconds – The core recoils and sends the rest of the star flying into space

33 Supernova Crab Nebula in Taurus supernova exploded in 1054 The amount of energy released is so great, that most of the elements heavier than Fe are instantly created In the last millennium, four supernovae have been observed in our part of the Milky Way Galaxy: in 1006, 1054, 1572, & 1604

34 Supernovae Veil Nebula Tycho ’ s Supernova (X-rays) exploded in 1572

35 Summary of the Differences between High and Low Mass Stars Compared to low-mass stars, high-mass stars: – live much shorter lives – have convective cores, but no other convective layers while low-mass stars have convection layers at their surfaces – have a significant amount of pressure supplied by radiation – fuse Hydrogen via the CNO cycle instead of the p-p chain – die as a supernova; low-mass stars die as a planetary nebula – can fuse elements heavier than Carbon – may leave either a neutron star or black hole behind low-mass stars leave a white dwarf behind – are far less numerous

36 Close Binary Stars Most stars are not single – they occur in binary or multiple systems. – binary stars complicate our model of stellar evolution Remember that mass determines the life path of a star. – two stars in a binary system can be close enough to transfer mass from one to the other – gaining or losing mass will change the life path of a star For example, consider the star Algol in the constellation Perseus. – Algol is a close, eclipsing binary star consisting of… – a main sequence star with mass = 3.7 M  & a subgiant with mass = 0.8 M  – since they are in a binary, both stars were born at the same time – yet the less massive star, which should have evolved more slowly, is in a more advanced stage of life This apparent contradiction to our model of stellar evolution is known as the Algol Paradox.

37 The Algol Paradox Explained This paradox can be explained by mass exchange. The 0.8 M  subgiant star used to be the more massive of the two stars. When the Algol binary formed: – it was a 3 M  main sequence star… – with a 1.5 M  main sequence companion As the 3 M  star evolved into a red giant – tidal forces began to deform the star – the surface got close enough to the other star so that gravity… – pulled matter from it onto the other star As a result of mass exchange, today… – the giant lost 2.2 M  and shrunk into a subgiant star – the companion is now a 3.7 M  MS star

38 Role of Mass A star's mass determines its entire life story because it determines its core temperature. High-mass stars with > 8M Sun have short lives, eventually becoming hot enough to make iron, and end in supernova explosions. Low-mass stars with < 2M Sun have long lives, never become hot enough to fuse carbon nuclei, and end as white dwarfs. Intermediate-mass stars can make elements heavier than carbon but end as white dwarfs. © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc.


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