Stars

Stars

About Stars

A star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth. Some other stars are visible from Earth during the night, appearing as a multitude of fixed luminous points due to their immense distance. Historically, the most prominent stars were grouped into constellations and asterisms, and the brightest stars gained proper names. A star's life begins with the gravitational collapse of a gaseous nebula of material composed primarily of hydrogen, along with helium and trace amounts of heavier elements. Once the stellar core is sufficiently dense, hydrogen becomes steadily converted into helium through nuclear fusion, releasing energy in the process. The remainder of the star's interior carries energy away from the core through a combination of radiative and convective processes. Once the hydrogen fuel at the core is exhausted, a star with at least 0.4 times the mass of the Sun expands to become a red giant, in some cases fusing heavier elements at the core or in shells around the core. The star then evolves into a degenerate form, recycling a portion of its matter into the interstellar environment, where it will contribute to the formation of a new generation of stars with a higher proportion of heavy elements. Meanwhile, the core becomes a stellar remnant: a white dwarf, a neutron star, or (if it is sufficiently massive) a black hole.

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