Star Birth - The life cycle of Stars Part of the curriculum for SCI350 - University of Phoenix

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An average galaxy is thought to contain over a hundred billion stars. A hundred billion galaxies are thought to exist in the universe. That adds up to a lot of stars. Where do these stars come from? How do they form? Why are some stars brighter than others? How does the sun get and generate power? One of the great discoveries of modern science is that stars live only for a measurable amount of time and then die? Although the lives of the stars are enormously longer than a human lifetime, we can learn about the life story of stars by studying them at every stage and putting all the pieces together. We are going piece together the star's early beginnings; the formation of a star, it's birth, its energy and its life as a main sequence star. We will also distinguish between a low mass star and a high mass star and the significance of both.

Each area will enrich our understanding and give us a clearer picture of how a star is born and its place in the universe.

Image courtesy of NASA

Giant Molecular Clouds

Our universe is filled with clouds of gas and dust amid the black emptiness of space. These leftovers from the formations of our galaxies can have a diameter as big as 1 light year by 300 light years. These clouds of dust within the vastness of space are composed of mostly Hydrogen and dust particles. The clouds themselves are generally cooler and make for perfect breeding grounds for stars. The stellar dust makes up most of what we see and makes the clouds opaque. These clouds and the material contained within them are the birthplaces for future stars. As these clouds are mainly hydrogen; with some helium and other trace...