What is a protostar?

Question:

What is a protostar?

Star Evolution:

Stars go through an evolution lasting anywhere from hundreds of thousands to billions of years. Once stars develop, they can evolve into either red giants or supergiants. They then evolve into planetary nebula or supernovas before evolving into white dwarfs or neutron stars/black holes, respectively.

Answer and Explanation:

A protostar is an infant star that is in the beginning stages of the star formation period before it reaches the main sequence phase. The main sequence stage occurs with nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium.

Clouds of hydrogen and helium collapse and break into fragments. These fragments are what form into protostar. A gas and dust cloud forms around the protostar, and the components fall inward. Temperatures increase, and hydrogen begins to burn. Once the hydrogen begins nuclear fusion with helium, the protostars evolve into either normal or brown dwarf stars. The designation depends on the mass of the protostars. Those having more than a .08 solar mass will form into a regular star, and those with less than a .08 solar mass will become a brown dwarf star.


Learn more about this topic:

Loading...
Protostar: Definition, Formation & Facts

from Intro to Astronomy: Help and Review

Chapter 16 / Lesson 7
35K

Related to this Question

Explore our homework questions and answers library