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Ch 20: The Birth and Life of Stars

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons to learn more about the birth and beginning life cycle of stars. Find out more about what stars are made of and the processes that create them.

The Birth and Life of Stars - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Stars are such a constant in our night sky, it's easy to forget that they are dynamic astronomical bodies with a life cycle of their own. These video lessons present you with a snapshot of how stars are born. Important concepts necessary for understanding how stars come into existence are covered; instructors discuss interstellar medium, young stellar objects, protostellar disks, and nuclear fusion. You'll gain an understanding of the star birth process in general as well as the specific process for certain kinds of stars, such as main sequence, dwarf, and giant stars. At the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Define interstellar medium
  • Discuss star formation
  • Define protostellar disks
  • Describe nuclear fusion and the birth of stars
  • State how main sequence, dwarf, and giant stars are formed

Video Objective
What is the Interstellar Medium? Learn about the matter that exists in the space between star systems in a galaxy.
How Does the Interstellar Medium Help Form Stars? Understand what role the gas, dust, and cosmic rays in the interstellar medium have in the formation of a star.
Young Stellar Objects and Protostellar Disks Define young stellar objects and protostellar disks; describe the role they play in stars' life cycle.
Nuclear Fusion & Star Formation Learn about nuclear fusion within the context of stellar structure and the birth of stars.
Star Formation: Main Sequence, Dwarf & Giant Stars Describe the star formation process and how it's carried out for each of these kinds of stars.

9 Lessons in Chapter 20: The Birth and Life of Stars
Star Formation: Main Sequence, Dwarf & Giant Stars

1. Star Formation: Main Sequence, Dwarf & Giant Stars

Learn how stars are born, beginning with a protostar. Then learn about stars in later stages of life, including main sequence stars, brown dwarfs, red giants, and black holes.

What is the Interstellar Medium?

2. What is the Interstellar Medium?

We'll explore something known as the interstellar medium, the birthplace of stars around our universe. You'll learn what it is made of, what interstellar dust is, and why it is there in the first place.

Emission, Dark, and Reflection Nebulae

3. Emission, Dark, and Reflection Nebulae

Did you ever hear about the famous Horsehead Nebula? Do you know why it looks dark like that and why the colors around it are such a pretty pink and blue? You'll definitely find out in this lesson as we explore emission, reflection, and dark nebulae!

How Does the Interstellar Medium Help Form Stars?

4. How Does the Interstellar Medium Help Form Stars?

This lesson will describe how the interstellar medium plays a role in the earliest phases of the formation of stars. We'll define what a protostar is, how gravity is important, and what a cocoon is in an astronomical sense.

Young Stellar Objects and Protostellar Disks

5. Young Stellar Objects and Protostellar Disks

Birth lines, bipolar flows, protostellar disks, and young stellar objects. What do these have to do with star formation? How do they clue us into planetary formation? Check this lesson out for that and lots more info.

Young Stars & Stellar Associations

6. Young Stars & Stellar Associations

This lesson will describe the concept of a stellar association for you and how it differs from a star cluster. You'll also learn about the three general kinds of stellar associations: R associations, T associations, and OB associations.

Nuclear Fusion & Star Formation

7. Nuclear Fusion & Star Formation

This lesson will explain how the processes of stellar formation leads to nuclear fusion. We'll also define nuclear fusion and hydrostatic equilibrium, and find out why temperature is so important to all of this.

Forces Keeping Stars in a Stable Equilibrium

8. Forces Keeping Stars in a Stable Equilibrium

This lesson will outline for you the forces and properties that keep stars stable. They include temperature, pressure, gravity, density, and nuclear reactions.

How Stars Generate Energy

9. How Stars Generate Energy

This lesson will tell you how the sun generates energy, energy that depends on much more than the superficial notion of nuclear fusion. We'll delve deeply into this process by exploring protons, positrons, gamma rays, and a whole lot more!

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