The plural form of nebula is nebulae, and in this post, we shall discuss nebulae, or a large cloud of dust and such (also known as a star-forming region!). We will also discuss a star’s life cycle and the ending results, along with a few personal thoughts as to what lies in the mystery of celestial objects.
Where do stars form? If you paid attention to the introduction or in school, then you should know that stars mostly form in nebulae, or big clouds of dust and gas. Before stars are actually born, they start out as protostars. Years after years, these protostars draw in gas and dust and collect them and become oh-so-very massive. Once the star has enough gas and dust, BAM! Nuclear fusion will begin its process, and a star is born as the protostar achieves high luminosity and extreme heat.
After this beautiful scene, we have a star. The Sun, for example, is a beautiful star. Stars spend their time in the main phase completing nuclear fusion, or fusing smaller elements to create different elements (such as hydrogen to helium). This process continues, and as the star runs out of fuel for this fusion, the star expands and the color is altered.
A red giant is a star nearing its death. The star is extremely large and, per its name, very red. Once all the fuel has been used up, the star will begin collapsing upon itself and then explode in what is known as….a supernova. A supernova is extremely beautiful, leaving behind large traces and trails of gas and dust.
From the death sequence comes a few different phases. If the star wasn’t very massive, the leftovers may be a white dwarf of some sort, a faintly glowing small star that will keep flickering for many years until they become black dwarfs. More massive stars will become a neutron star. Stay far away, though, because its large mass means large gravity, smashing you to bits if you get TOO close to a neutron star! Even more massive stars shall become the sacred black holes, which have such immense gravity, preventing even light from escaping the imminent doom of the event horizon.
The death of a star seems sad, but this cycle actually spans over more than a bunch o’ million years. Some supernova remnants can actually become another nebula, such as the majestic Crab Nebula. To be truthful, I’m not sure if we will actually be able to explore a black hole. Maybe it might work well if we end some sort of camera and toss it in there and let it be absorbed by the gravitational pull. In any case, passing the event horizon means the point of no return.
First of all, you might need to wonder: how do we know ABOUT black holes when we can’t SEE them? I mean, all light cannot escape from the gravitational pull. The answer is, we can’t. Scientists had an idea for these objects because of the swirling amount of mass (or is it heat?) around a certain point, the center area of a black hole. It’s very odd, but it makes more sense if you look at visuals and graphs for clarification…
I now bring you a poem:
A star shall be born.
A trial of passing time.
Hidden by the light.
Walking to one end of space.
Since space may always expand.
Does the star life-cycle seem a bit long (considering it takes billions of years to get to the death sequence)? What’s your favorite star type/phase? Your favorite specific star (such as Polaris, Sirius, etc.)? Is there another way we could explore black holes? Can you interpret something from my space-y poem?