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Ch 21: Star Death and Stellar Remnants

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons about the death of stars; get an understanding of how stars 'die' and what kind of stellar entity remains. Each lesson is followed by an online self-assessment which can tell you how well you understood the material.

Star Death and Stellar Remnants - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

As much as stars are pretty to look at in the sky, as with everything else, they, too, must come to an end some day. In these video lessons, you'll see an overview of the life cycle of a star, with special attention paid to the final phases. Topics discussed include types of stars and how they die, as well as what kind of stellar matter remains. After completing this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Name several types of stars
  • Discuss how those stars die
  • Describe stellar remnants
  • Understand the death of stars in a binary system
  • Describe black holes and their properties

Video Objective
Supernova and Supergiant Star Life Cycle Understand all phases of a star's existence, from birth to death.
Life Cycle of Neutron Stars Describe the existence of a neutron star, from creation to destruction.
White Dwarfs: Definition & Characteristics Learn about the common properties of a white dwarf, including how it behaves in a close binary system.
The Death of a Star Understand how stars cease to exist.
Giant Stars and Death Describe how giant stars 'die.'
How Lower-Main-Sequence Stars Die Discuss how lower-main-sequence stars come to the end of their life cycles.
Binary Systems and the Death of Stars Discuss Roche lobes and lagrange points and how they relate to stars' endings.
How Massive Stars Die Understand supernovas and nuclear fusion in the death of a star.
What Are Neutron Stars? Define a neutron star and how it relates to a supernova.
What Are Pulsars? Define pulsars and identify different kinds, including pulsar stars.
Life Cycle of Black Holes Understand the phases of a black hole's existence.
The Important Concepts of Black Holes Learn about escape velocity, event horizon, the schwarzschild radius, and more.
The Origin of Gamma-ray Bursts Define gamma-ray bursts, and learn where they come from.

22 Lessons in Chapter 21: Star Death and Stellar Remnants
Supernova and Supergiant Star Life Cycle

1. Supernova and Supergiant Star Life Cycle

Learn about one of the biggest explosions known to humankind - a supernova. Follow a star's life cycle and learn how a star changes from a red giant to a supernova to a black hole or neutron star.

Giant Stars and Helium Fusion

2. Giant Stars and Helium Fusion

This lesson will explain to you why a star nearing its end will become a giant star, and how the energy generating processes in its core will change as a result.

Helium Fusion and Degenerate Electron Pressure

3. Helium Fusion and Degenerate Electron Pressure

Standard gas laws need not apply under the special circumstances described in this lesson with concepts like degeneracy, degenerate electron pressure, helium fusion, and the Coulomb barrier.

How Lower-Main-Sequence Stars Die

4. How Lower-Main-Sequence Stars Die

Not every star lives or dies the same way. Red dwarfs and medium-sized stars have key differences that determine their lifespan and how they die. This lesson will tell you why that is the case.

What Are Planetary Nebulae?

5. What Are Planetary Nebulae?

This lesson will define something very cool and beautiful called a planetary nebula. You'll not only learn what it is but how it's formed, and why it produces all those amazing colors!

Red Giant, Horizontal & Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars

6. Red Giant, Horizontal & Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars

This lesson will outline how stars of low to intermediate mass die as seen on the H-R diagram. We'll cover important key terms such as red giant branch stars, asymptotic branch stars, and horizontal branch stars.

What Are White Dwarfs? - Stellar Remnant Characteristics

7. What Are White Dwarfs? - Stellar Remnant Characteristics

White dwarfs are incredible little stellar remnants. Which begs the question, are they actually stars or not? This lesson will tell you if and why and how white dwarfs come to be. That, and you'll learns some incredible facts about them as well.

Binary Systems and Novae

8. Binary Systems and Novae

This lesson will explain for you something known as the Algol paradox, what binary stars are, and how Roche lobes, the inner Lagrange point, novae, accretion disks, and novae are all involved in binary systems.

How Massive Stars Begin To Die

9. How Massive Stars Begin To Die

The ways massive stars and smaller stars evolve near their end are very different. This lesson will explain where they diverge, why, and what factors influence the beginning of the end for massive stars.

Supernova: How Massive Stars Explode

10. Supernova: How Massive Stars Explode

This lesson will explain how it is that a supernova comes to be by delving into how concepts like iron, core contraction, a core bounce, the strong force, and neutrinos all play a role in this event.

The Different Types of Supernovae

11. The Different Types of Supernovae

There are different types of supernovae, and this lesson will tell you what they are and what their differences are. We'll mainly focus on type II supernovae and types Ia and Ib supernovae.

Life Cycle of Neutron Stars

12. Life Cycle of Neutron Stars

Discover the life of a neutron star, including how it's born after a supernova explosion and how its extreme pressure causes protons and electrons to combine into neutrons. Discover also how pulsars are rotating neutron stars that will eventually slow down to become regular neutron stars.

What are Neutron Stars and Supernova Remnants?

13. What are Neutron Stars and Supernova Remnants?

This lesson will describe what happens after a supernova explosion occurs. Something known as a supernova remnant or neutron star may remain after the explosion, and you'll find out why that's important and how they form.

What Are Pulsars?

14. What Are Pulsars?

This lesson will define and describe pulsars. Importantly, you'll learn why the term is a bit of a misnomer, what acts as a pulsar and why, and what it pulses out.

Binary Pulsars & Pulsar Planets

15. Binary Pulsars & Pulsar Planets

This lesson will describe important concepts related to pulsars, namely binary pulsars, such as pulsar planets, millisecond pulsars, and gravitational waves.

Life Cycle of Black Holes

16. Life Cycle of Black Holes

Learn about black holes, their myths and their reality. Learn how black holes form after stars undergo supernovae and create singularities. Discover how big black holes grow, how scientists find black holes and where black holes are located in the universe.

Black Holes: Escape Velocity and the Singularity

17. Black Holes: Escape Velocity and the Singularity

This lesson defines black holes and introduces two important concepts related to them, escape velocity and singularity, so you can build a base for further investigation of concepts related to black holes.

Black Holes: the Event Horizon and Schwarzschild Radius

18. Black Holes: the Event Horizon and Schwarzschild Radius

This lesson describes the event horizon and the Schwarzschild radius, including their implications on the gravitational attraction a black hole exerts on the universe around it.

Finding and Leaping into Black Holes

19. Finding and Leaping into Black Holes

Did you ever wonder what would happen if you fell into a black hole? Is it a good idea to use it for time travel? And what would your friends see as you fell in? Using this lesson on finding one might reveal it's not such a good idea. Or is it?

The Origin of Gamma-ray Bursts

20. The Origin of Gamma-ray Bursts

Gamma-ray bursts are so powerful, they may one day destroy us. But where do they come from? Find out as we define gamma-ray bursts, hypernovae, and magnetars in this lesson.

Cosmic Recycling: From Stellar Death to Human Life

21. Cosmic Recycling: From Stellar Death to Human Life

Did you know that you are related to the stars you see in the sky? Did you know that you're made of recycled material? This lesson will tell you how and why.

Cosmic Rays: Definition & Origin

22. Cosmic Rays: Definition & Origin

This lesson will explain what cosmic rays are (including primary and secondary cosmic rays), where they come from, if you should be worried about them, and what you can do to protect yourself from them if need be.

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