Ch 15: Basics of Star Death

About This Chapter

You might know that stars die, but how much do you understand about the details and the results of this process? This chapter explores the basics of star death to help boost your astronomy class studies or prepare you for course or college credit exams.

Basics of Star Death - Chapter Summary

Use this chapter to learn more about the life cycle of stars and how stars begin to die. Find details about supernovas, giant stars and white dwarfs.

These lessons will provide term definitions and illustrations to help you better understand about types of stars and supernovae and the process by which stars die and massive stars explode. Once you complete this chapter, you'll be able to:

  • Detail the life cycle of supernovae and supergiant stars
  • Discuss giant stars and helium fusion
  • Explain how lower-main-sequence stars die
  • Define planetary nebulae
  • Provide details about red giant, horizontal and asymptotic giant branch stars
  • Describe white dwarfs and the characteristics of stellar remnants
  • Note how massive stars begin to die and explode
  • List the different types of supernovae

This self-paced chapter allows you to study when it best fits your schedule with 24/7 accessibility of all lessons from any device. You can also print lesson transcripts to create quick-reference materials if needed. Brief self-assessment quizzes help you measure what you've retained and identify any topics you might need to further review.

11 Lessons in Chapter 15: Basics of Star Death
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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