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OBAFGKM(LT) extra credit due today.
Mid-Term Exam #3, Mon, Nov 17th (1 week).
HW #4 will be given out after mid-term #3.
Optional “Astronomer’s Lecture Series”
extra credit write-up due by Wed.
Last Time: Stars
Mass is the most important characteristic
of a star.
Binary Stars: the key to measuring mass.
Most binaries are not visible, but can be
inferred from double-lines spectra.
Mass ranges from 0.08 (least massive star
capable of H-fusion) to ~150 (most massive
stable star) times the sun’s mass.
Last Time: Stars
Stellar lifetimes range from 10 million to 1
trillion years: less massive star living
much longer than more massive ones.
Massive stars are very rare.
H-R diagram: crucial
tool for
understanding stars.
Last Time: Stars
Plots temperature
vs. luminosity (power
output) of star.
“main sequence”
stars fall along a
narrow sequence.
Last Time: Stars
Mass, temperature, luminosity, and size are
related on the main sequence: more massive
stars are hotter, larger, and more
Some stars are hot but faint, or cool but
bright... these are not main sequence stars.
Giants and Supergiants are 10–1000× bigger
than the sun: larger even than jupiter’s
Last Time: Stars
“Luminosity class” is added to the spectral
type, telling you if it’s main-sequence (a
“dwarf”, V), giant (III), or super-giant star
(I). The sun is a G2 V.
Stars occur in smaller “open” and giant
“globular” clusters, with hundreds to
millions of stars.
Stars in clusters born at the same time, so
the main sequence “turns off” at the same
point: stars more massive than the “turn
off” have already died!
More Entries
Orange Bouys Are For Gauging Kilo Meters
Orange Bananas Arise From Greatly Kindled
Obnoxious Boys Are Frequently Getting
Kicked More
Out back after full grown killer monkeys
On Distance
We have a hard time estimating distances in
the universe.
If, however, we know the brightness of an
object (its “absolute magnitude”), and can
measure its apparent magnitude, we get the
We need “Standard Candles”: objects with
known luminosity.
Distances from
Spectral Types
Find luminosity class
(from spectrum), place
on H-R diagram: you get
Luminosity + apparent
magnitude gives
Method called
spectroscopic parallax
Pulsating Variables
Stars that pulsate (expand and contract)
Two special types:
Cepheid variables
RR Lyrae variables
Pulsation period depends on luminosity
– Can be used as standard candles
Discovered by
Henrietta Leavitt
Measure period of
variation, find
Luminosity +
magnitude gives
Provided CRUCIAL link for measuring
distances to nearby galaxies!
The Evolution of
Stellar Birth
Stars form in very large, cold interstellar
clouds composed of molecular hydrogen
and dust called, molecular clouds.
These molecular clouds sit between the
stars in the Galaxy.
The are very cold (10 K) so we can only see
them with infrared and radio telescopes
How Stars Form
Stars will form where gravity can
overcomes the pressure of the gas.
A clump of gas will contract until it heats
up enough to start nuclear fusion in its
core. The star has been “born”.
gas cloud… gravitational
The gravitational
potential energy is
to thermal
energy during the
potential energy
into heat
Star is “born”
contraction phase.
Star is “born”
when fusion
begins inwhen
in the core,
and contraction
Brown Dwarfs
What if you could stop the contraction
before fusion begins?
Collapsing gas cloud… gravitational
potential energy into heat
Star is “born”
when fusion
begins in the
core and
Electron Degeneracy
At the cores of young stars, the
temperatures are so hot, the gas is ionized
(electrons ripped away from the nuclei).
The core of a brown dwarf is so dense that
“electron degeneracy” pressure halts the
contraction before H fusion can begin.
Quantum mechanics says that electrons
cannot be in the same place at the same time.
Thermal Pressure
Depends on heat
The main form of
pressure in most stars.
Degeneracy Pressure
Does not depends on
heat content.
The electrons cannot
be in the same state at
the same place. They
fight back by moving
How Stars Form
As the star contracts,
it spins up due to
angular momentum
conservation and forms
a disk of material
around it (the “solar”
Stars Form in Groups
...and make Jets
100,000 A.U.
0.5 ly
Orion Star Formation
Orion Star Formation
Orion Star Formation
Orion Star Formation
Orion Star Formation Complex
(700 light-years)
30 ly
Orion Star Formation Complex
(700 light-years)
a few ly
Glowing gas is due to H and O.
(almost visible)
Orion Star Formation Complex
(700 light-years)
Flying through Orion
Conditions for StarFormation
If massive enough, Gravity of a collapsing
cloud “wins” over the pressure preventing
it’s collapse.
Many stars are formed together in the same
cloud: some are ejected from cloud, some
stay together to form clusters.
Mathematical Simulation
T=10 K
Size = 80,000
Mass = 10
A star-forming pillar
And clouds
and other clouds
An aside on color
Color in astronomical
images is normally
what’s called “false
It’s not what your eyes
would see.
In many cases, your eyes
couldn’t see it at all
(e.g. an infrared image).
Stellar Youth
Once stars are
formed, they begin
Fusing Hydrogen in
the cores on the zero
age main sequence.
They spend most of
their lives on it
burning H to He.
Move only slowly on
the H-R diagram (up
and to the right),
broadening it.
Stellar Lifetime
(current age of universe: 13.7 billion years)
Stellar Old Age
As a star ages, it begins to deplete the store
of hydrogen it gathered in its core when it
As the fuel supply drops, something must
At some point, either gravity or pressure
“wins out”
Eventually, Stars become White Dwarfs,
Black Holes, or Neutron Stars.
Main Sequence to
Red Giant H in core used up
He “ash” in core
no more fuel for
Gravity begins to win
core contracts, gets
hotter, starts H
fusion in shell
surrounding core
Thermostat is broken:
outer layers expand
Star becomes Red
Losing the Battle
At some point, the Core
contracts so far, the
temperature becomes very
Now hot enough to fuse
Helium into Carbon.
Stops collapse: star is stable
Helium Fusing
Like hydrogen fusion,
if the temperature is
high enough (108 K),
helium can be fused
into carbon.
Helium fusing can
then become a source
of outward pressure
to counteract gravity.
Last Gasps
The degenerate He core
becomes hot enough to
fuse He and the He flash
The temperature of the
core skyrockets and
thermal pressure again
dominates expanding the
He is fused to C for
roughly 100 million
Eventually the He runs
out and g > p, so the core
shrinks, the star expands
to an even bigger red
Beginning of the End
Helium runs out, and
core collapse resumes.
Helium begins burning in
a shell, and the outer
layers expand.
Star becomes a Red
strong mass loss occurs
via stellar winds
Life and Death as a Low-Mass
star (<8× the sun)
Sun is an example. It will shine for 10 billion
Runs out of Hydrogen in the core. Burns it in
“shells”, but the core keep collapsing, heating.
Expands to 100× it’s current size, 1000× the
Lose it’s outer layers to become a “planetary
Planetary Nebula
The carbon core
becomes degenerate
but never gets hot
enough to use carbon
as a fuel. But shells
of He and H are still
The outer layers of
the star are blown
off and create a
planetary nebula
with the degenerate
carbon core at its
Ring Nebula
2 ly
The leftover carbon
core is called a white
Planetary Nebula
2 ly
Eskimo Nebula
Planetary Nebula
2 ly
Helix Nebula
Planetary Nebula
2 ly
Cat’s Eye Nebula
Planetary Nebula
Retina Nebula
Planetary Nebulae
Life and Death as a Low-Mass
star (<8× the sun)
Low mass star is never hot enough to fuse
carbon. Electron degeneracy stops core
Eventually will become a white dwarf: a hot
“decaying Corpse” remnant of the star’s core.
Cools and vanishes.
Summary of Low-Mass
Star’s Life
A low-mass star is usually in 1 of 2 states:
g = p: The core is fusing and possible
shells around the core are fusing.
g > p: Shells around the core are fusing
and dumping material onto the inert core.
The star is very large because of the
broken thermostat.
Electron degeneracy can stop the core
from collapsing enough to start fusion
What about the earth?
A.D. 5,000,000,000:
Sun’s luminosity
will go up by
1000×! Earth
Sun will swell to
the earth’s orbit,
before turning
into a white
Summary of Low-Mass
Star’s Life
White Dwarf Stars
diameter ~ same as
very dense
(1 tsp = several tons!)
very hot on surface
• Chandrasekhar limit
Maximum mass = 1.4
larger stars collapse
More massive WD’s
are smaller!
Life and Death as a High-Mass
star (>8× the sun)
At first, evolution similar to low mass star:
core of hydrogen, fusing to helium
Red giant phase with H fusing in a shell.
Core of helium fusing into Carbon.
The CNO Cycle
The CNO cycle is
just another way to
fuse H into He,
using C, N, O as a
The CNO cycle is the
main mechanism for
H fusion in highmass stars because
their core
temperatures are
Life as a High-Mass
Star (M > 8 Msun)
High-mass stars
become supergiants
when the core runs
out of H.
Begins the process of
expansion and
contraction as the
core goes through
several phases of
fusing heavier
How do stars make the elements?
The Big Bang makes H (75%) and He (24%), and Li, Be, B (1%).
How do stars make the elements?
Helium fusion makes carbon in lowmass stars.
How do stars make the elements?
The CNO cycle makes N and O.
How do stars make the elements?
Helium capture adds two protons at a time.
How do stars make the elements?
Helium capture builds C into, N, O, Ne, Mg.
How do stars make the elements?
How do stars make the elements?
Helium capture converts Si into S, Ar,
Ca, Ti, Cr, & Fe.
How do stars make
the elements?
All of these various
fusion reactions
occur as the star
Like a low-mass star,
a high-mass star goes
through stages
where the core is and
is not fusing.
The star ends up with
numerous fusing
How do stars make the elements?
Other reactions create the other
elements up to Fe.
Can this go on forever?
The Helium has
less mass than 4
hydrogen atoms.
The difference
is converted to
energy (E=mc2)
The mass per
nucleon goes
Can this go on forever?
The mass per
nucleon goes
down until
Iron cannot be
fused into
anything and
therefore the
star has no
energy source.
How does a high-mass
star die?
We are left with a
core of
degenerate iron
Eventually the
iron core cannot
support itself
under the
crushing weight
of the star.
What happens?
How does a high-mass
star die?
Electrons and
protons combine
to form neutrons
and neutrinos.
The core
collapses to form
a degenerate
neutron core.
The star explodes
in a supernova,
and we are left
with a neutron
How do stars make the elements?
The energy from the supernova creates all
the other elements.
Exam #3 in 1 week: review Wed.
Astronomer’s lecture series Extra Credit
write-up: Due Wed.
Read chapter 13 for Wed. (Black Holes!).