Haven on Earth… (See what I did there)

I have recently read an article on Space.com titled  “Dying Stars May Transform Frozen Worlds Into Havens For Life” written by Calla Cofield. This article directly relates to our 14th conceptual objective. This article explains how older stars when they reach a time in their celestial life that they being to fade out or run out of energy then surely pass away. These stars when they are beginning to reach this certain climax swell up, almost hundreds of times their actual size. In this process they also take other stars with them by essentially swallowing them up. The research for this article shows that 1.5 billion years from now there will be stars on a march to death and therefore forever expanding the universe. Scientists expect our universe to expand about 200 times the current size it is today, this overtaking with also cause planets like Mercury and Venus to consumed then making our planet essentially unlivable. This research ultimately answers the questions like can planets still support life after avoiding demise? Or can planets near these dying stars still be able to host life? Astronomers have been able to prove that red giants have stability for billions, if not, trillions of years. New work is being constructed that provides in-depth observation on how long planet’s can remain stable living around these red giants, in many cases these planets can live up to nine billion years. Luminosity is the amount of light it emits in any given time, is a big factor in defining the habitable zone for stars. As a star swells up into becoming a red giant its luminosity increases. When stars swell up they lose luminosity, because of the high mass. This high mass gets blasted outward, which can cause a stellar wind. This new work shows that some of the planets, can lose their atmosphere during this evolution. When they are located close to these stars, along with contributing factors like low gravity.

Diving further into the 14th objective, a star’s life after many years collects helium then forms into what scientists call helium ash. The star’s helium core becomes compressed together with electrons with very little limited space for them to go. This then degenerates the amount of pressure resulting in an electron degeneracy. With this degeneracy, the helium flash occurs which can reach upward of 100 mk in the center of the core which allows the helium to fuse together. After this process unfolds a supernova is born which is a neutron star that has three components to its making. This massive star is very dense with an extremely hot core while the supernova explosion rips off the outer layers of the star , thus making the supernova expand forever into eternity. The mass of the star’s core is broken down into three size groups, white dwarf stars which are anything larger than 1.4, a neutron star which is anything larger than 3.0, than anything smaller than that is formed into degenerate pressure because of gravity. Our class reviewed a lecture in our workbook tutorial called “Stellar Evolution” this tutorial showed us which path a star can take after becoming a red giant. If the star has a mass of 8M’s or smaller it then is classified as a planetary nebula. If it is larger than 8M’s it then is classified as a type 2 supernova leaving behind a neutral star or black hole.

This article relates to our 14th objective because it gives a brief summary of how stars evolve and die out. Learning about stars and their evolution it gave me insight as to how remarkable space is. From earth stars seem so small and irrelevant, but on the contrary, stars have a huge impact on the universe and how scientists study astronomy. To me stars are almost like a living organism or object that is in space, that makes me wonder if anything else can survive in space. Overall, I fairly enjoyed this objective because it allowed me to expand my mind a bit and think about major possibilities that could happen with stars and our universe.



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