In the article, “When a nearby star goes supernova, scientists will be ready“, by Emily Conover from sciencenews.org, talks about the red giant Betelgeuse is at the end of it’s lifetime and will explode into a supernova any day now. She also mentions that when Betelgeuse explodes, it will be brighter than the moon and visible during daytime. Astronomers were able to tell when Betelgeuse is near the ends of its life due to neutrinos (subatomic particles that stream out of a collapsing star’s center) and gravitational waves.
This article relates to our conceptual objective, “I can describe how stars evolve and die”, because a star that’s really massive will eventually explode into a supernova when the core can’t support nuclear fusion of hydrogen. A star starts out as a protostar and becomes a main sequence star once it reached hydro-static equilibrium. We learned this in our past lecture-tutorial about star formations on pages 119-120. When the main sequence star can no longer support nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores will become red giants. Most main sequence stars become red giants, but their specific paths after this stage varies on their mass. A low-mass star will eject it’s outer layers to produce a planetary nebula. The low-mass star’s core in the middle of the planetary nebula is called a white dwarf. A high-mass star such as Betelgeuse mentioned earlier will eventually explode as a type 2 supernova. The supernova will leave behind a neutron star or, if the star was extremely massive, it would create a black hole. We learned this on our most recent lecture-tutorial titled, ” Stella Evolution”. The pages were from 133-134 and they gave a nice introduction to stellar evolution and what happens after these stages occur.
After reading this article, I found myself really excited about learning about the death of a star since we can actually observe one some day in the near future. It’s a shame we don’t know the exact date when Betelgeuse will explode, but I’ll be looking forward to it. This information can also help astronomers determine the past of some galaxies depending on the white dwarfs and neutron stars it has.