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The life of a Star

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Introduction

The life of a Star

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Overview of the life of a star
By observing stars of different ages, scientists have plotted the life of a star, from it’s birth to it’s death.
Stars are huge spinning balls of glowing hydrogen and helium gas. What happens to a star during it’s life depends on how much of these gases it contains. Stars with a lot of material have shorter life spans.

All stars start their lives in a spinning, dense cloud of gas and dust, a
nebula. the cloud spins, small pockets of material form inside it and begin to shrink to form spinning balls, through Gravitational attraction between the atoms of gas gradually drawing them together. Each ball is a protostar.
The balls of material continue to shrink due to gravity acting on it, becoming denser and it’s temperature rises. When the temperature in the centre of the core reaches around 10million degrees. This causes a new, young star to shine.  

Nuclear fusion in the core of the ball starts to turn hydrogen atoms into atoms of a heavier gas-helium. Each time an atom of helium is formed into hydrogen, a little energy is released in the form of light and heat. Most of the stars’ energy is given off into space, but a little is retained, causing the star to grow hotter.
The stars’ core may get denser and hotter as it uses up its hydrogen, and when all the hydrogen is spent, the star expands.

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Black holes

Black Holes are hypothetical bodies with a gravitational field so strong that nothing, including electromagnetic radiation, can escape from it. The body is surrounded by a spherical boundary, called the ‘event horizon’, through which light can enter but not escape. As no light can escape, it appears totally black; thus it’s name. Such a gravitational field can belong to a high-density body, of relatively small mass - equal to the Sun's or less - that is compressed into a very small volume; or to a low-density body of very great mass, such as a collection of millions of stars at a galaxy's centre.

It is impossible for us to find out what there is behind the event horizon, but in some shape or form, we know that a singularity must exist. This is a point to which all of the star’s mass has collapsed which is infinitely dense and exceptionally small, this is according to relativity. An additional proposal is that the singularity causes a ‘tear’ in space-time, and so becomes a ‘bottomless pit’.


                                         
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Comets, Meteors & Asteroids

Comets
At the very edge of the Solar System, in a region known as the ‘Oort Cloud’, are billions of comets. They are enormous balls of dust and ice. Most are the size of a town, but some are occasionally the size of a city. Intermittently, a comet is knocked off its course, which starts it on a journey round the Sun in a long, oval orbit.

There are three types of comet.

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Conclusion

Even more recently, a NASA satellite detected cosmic microwaves emanating from the outer reaches of the universe. These microwaves were remarkably uniform which illustrated the ‘homogeneity’ of the early stages of the universe. However, the satellite also discovered that as the universe began to cool and was still expanding, small fluctuations began to exist due to temperature differences. These changes verified prior calculations of the possible cooling and development of the universe just fractions of a second after its creation. These fluctuations in the universe provided a more detailed description of the first moments after the Big Bang.
The Big Bang theory provides a viable solution to one of the most pressing questions of all time. It is important to understand, however, that the theory itself is constantly being revised. As more observations are made and more research conducted, the Big Bang theory becomes more complete and our knowledge of the origins of the universe more substantial. 

Although the Big Bang Theory is widely accepted, it probably will never be proved; consequentially, leaving a number of tough, unanswered questions.




 
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             ’
Whatever you wanted to know about the universe… nearly…’


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includes:The life history of a star
                                                 Comets, meteors & asteroids
                                                          The big bang theory
                                             Red shift & universe expansion
                                                             
and much more…!

                                                                             
Ben Jones

Bibliography


Books
Our Universe
Comets, Asteroids and Meteors
Space
The Night Sky
Extra-terrestrial Phenomena

websites from:
www.google.co.uk
www.yahoo.co.uk
www.ask.co.uk
www.altavista.co.uk


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