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The Life Cycle of the Stars

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The Life Cycle    


The Life Cycle of the Stars



Science 101


September 03, 2007

The Life Cycle of the Stars

Stars come in many definitions and in many forms today, there are Rock Stars, Movie Stars, There is even star shaped cereal for children but the most important stars we have our in our solar system. Let us look at the stars in the sky and space, their origins of birth, their features of life, and their features in death.

Light is an important part of a stars life, because light is what a star emits and makes it visible to us. Through the study of starlight, the discovery the Earth orbits the sun appeared. In addition, the aberrations of starlight eventually lead to the discovery of stellar parallax in 1838. There are many forms of photons and electromagnetic waves and because of the various forms and shapes, we are able to study star by the light that they emit.

         In the Hierarchy of the universe, stars play an important role.

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          Now the star has become a fusion furnace of sorts, it steadily burns hydrogen. The size and birth weights all vary and are of different mass. There is a ten to one ratio in favor of forming low mass and intermediate mass stars over high mass stars. The Low mass stars spend there main life as a fusion machine which turns hydrogen into helium and a slow and methodical pace. When the energy released by this fusion reaches the surface, and released into space, this is the star luminosity. Over a long, longtime, sometimes billions of years, a low mass star consumes the hydrogen in its core and converts it to helium, at which point the core starts to contract and shrink. Once all the hydrogen inside the stars core begins to become fully exhausted, the core pressure gives way to the crush of gravity because it has no more fusion occurring in its core then. As the core shrinks rapidly and the outer layers start to expand, the star’s shape begins to grow in size.

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         So there we have it, the life cycle of stars may differ in the size, mass and death but they all go through a birth, life-and-death cycle much as we ourselves do. We as humans sometimes live like stars, some of us have a brighter and more massive impact then others, and some of us go out in a blaze, like a supernova.


Bennett , R.,  Donahue, G., Schneider, J., & Voit, N. (2004). The Cosmic Perspectives (3rd ed ed.). NY: Pearson Addison Wesley.

Kosmoi (1999). Electromagnetic Radiation. Retrieved August 29 2007, from http://kosmoi.com/Science/Physics/Light/

Merriam Webster Online (2005). Star. Retrieved Aug 25 2007, from http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/star

MilkyWay.Com (2005).  Evolution of Stars. Retrieved August 15 2007, from http://www.milky-way.com/gb/sevol.htm

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Earth and Beyond section.

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Here's what a star student thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Response to the question

Response to question - To what extent has the student answered the set question? How explicit is their response?

The writer has approached the question well, where they used information that could potentially be very complex and broken it ...

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Response to the question

Response to question - To what extent has the student answered the set question? How explicit is their response?

The writer has approached the question well, where they used information that could potentially be very complex and broken it down for people to understand, without loosing any essential facts. It was good that they went through a very quick history before actually discussing the life cycle of stars. They mention nuclear fusion and Einstein's theory of relativity, but hasn't been able to link both star cycles and this very well together. What the writer could have done is briefly explain this process.

It was good that the writer explained the differences between star masses and the relation to out sun. It was also good that the writer explained the similarities and differences that the life cycle of the star would have depending on its' mass and what happens to each star group as it comes towards the end of it's life and finally dies.

Overall, it was a good response and a very well written essay.

Level of analysis

Level of analysis - To what extent does the writer show appropriate analytical skills for this level of qualification? Have they made evaluative judgements using suitable evidence? Have these examples been developed throughout the response and has an appropriate conclusion been reached?

The language that the writer used within their essay was of a high standard. They used the correct scientific language, especially when naming each stage of the life cycle correctly and explain the significance of each stage. The information is mainly accurate, although again the main point that they could have analysed more was the point on nuclear reactions, mainly because it plays a massive part in the life cycle of stars.

Quality of writing

Quality of writing - Is the writing accurate in terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation? Has the writer used technical terms expected at this level of qualification? To what extent does the writer follow conventions and expectations for written work at this level?

Grammar and spelling was good. However, the only thing that the writer could have avoided is trying to be trivial in the introduction and ending paragraph by talking about "Rock Stars" and "Film Stars".

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Reviewed by cpdavis 19/02/2012

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