Low-Mass vs. High-mass

 

Does our Sun (with a mass of 1 solar mass) evolve the same as a star with 10 times its mass?

Goal: Understand that stars evolve with time & that a star’s mass determines which stages of evolution it will go through.

Question 1a. Place the images (from A-E) in the correct order, from stellar birth to death. Click here to review the intro materials if you get stuck. (Remember to fill in your worksheet as you go).

Low mass stars like our Sun:



















High-mass stars:

(with M > 10Msun, i.e., masses greater than 10 times the mass of our Sun):
































Question 2. In the list below, you will find the steps in the life of a high-mass star. The steps are not in order. Place them in the order in which they occur in a high-mass star’s life cycle.


  1. A) A supernova occurs.

  2. B) If it is a massive star, a neutron star forms. If it is a super massive star, a black hole forms.

  3. C) Gravity pulls hydrogen gas together to form a cloud.

  4. D) A red giant forms when the star’s hydrogen level drops.

  5. E) A main sequence star, which can live for millions or even billions of years, forms and nuclear fusion of hydrogen begins.

 

White Dwarf Star

Our Sun today

Shown in different wavelengths of light

A

B

E

D

C

Arcturus, a star in its red giant phase.

Notice how much bigger our sun will get when it enters its red giant phase.

The Helix Nebula, a star in its planetary nebula phase

The Carina Nebula, a region of intense star birth

A white dwarf star is approximately

the same size as the Earth

E

The Carina Nebula, a region of intense star birth

A - black hole

B

C

D

A black hole actively accreting material from a nearby star

Black Hole

Shock waves from a supernova explosion

Betelgeuse, a star in its red giant phase.

Notice that its size is as large as Saturn’s orbit.

Spica, a high-mass star in its main sequence phase, fusing hydrogen in its core.

Our Sun is in its main sequence phase,

fusing hydrogen in its core.

Question 1b. Place the images A-E in the correct order. (Remember to fill in your worksheet).