Evolutionary stages of stars

The career of a star depends crucially on its mass. The more massive the star, the more pressure is built up inside. The evolution of stars is enumerated in the table below.

Small stars: Become brown dwarfs, not particularly bright or dramatic.

Medium mass stars: These are stars like our sun, less than 1.4 solar masses (the Chandrasekhar limit).

  1. Combines hydrogen into helium.

  2. Runs out of hydrogen, and flares into a red giant.

  3. Collapses into a white dwarf

Massive stars: Stars with masses greater than 1.4 solar masses

  1. Combines hydrogen into helium.
  2. Combines helium into iron.
  3. Collapses (sometimes explodes as a supernova) into a neutron star.

Extremely massive stars: These are very massive stars, the cutoff is not exactly understood.

  1. Same as massive star.
  2. Collapses into a black hole.

The dynamics of the interior of a star is a subfield of nuclear physics. Thus, micoscopic modeling is essential to understanding the behavior of these enormous objects.

Examples     Cosmo/Astro index