Essay: Astronomy

Sample Essay

Words 1,540

This is an essay on Astronomy. A white dwarf is a stellar remnant and can be quantify as a dead star. A “dead” star is one that has no more nuclear fusion going in it. When a star dies, it leaves some remnant behind. White dwarfs are what the core of a star was once. During a star’s life, nuclear fusion goes on in the core and not in the entire star. The temperatures are enormously high in the core –15 million degrees Kelvin for main sequence stars burning hydrogen, and 100 million degrees for stars burning helium.

A white dwarf is a (dead) star, why is it so hot?

A white dwarf is a stellar remnant and can be quantify as a dead star. A “dead” star is one that has no more nuclear fusion going in it. When a star dies, it leaves some remnant behind. White dwarfs are what the core of a star was once. During a star’s life, nuclear fusion goes on in the core and not in the entire star. The temperatures are enormously high in the core –15 million degrees Kelvin for main sequence stars burning hydrogen, and 100 million degrees for stars burning helium. As a result, when a low mass star dies by cracking its envelope leaving behind the core as a white dwarf, it is very hot at around 100 million degrees.

What happens to a star after they burn out?

Stars more massive than 6 solar masses are likely to supernova; stars less massive than this become white dwarfs. After a supernova, there may be nothing left, or there could be a remnant: either a neutron star or a black hole. If the remnant is huger than around 3 solar masses it will perhaps end up as a black hole. Stars are smallest when they are burning hydrogen into helium, which is what stars do during most of their lifetimes. After hydrogen burning, a star passes through many transformations. Various parts of a star experience extremes of temperature, density and change. Stars are the factories where hydrogen is altered into the fundamentals that provide us with life and luxury.

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