and Death of Stars
|Stars have fascinated humans ever since the beginning
of our existence on earth. In all places all over the world, including
Egypt, Northern England, Mexico, and the Bretagne, you can find remnants
of millennia-old cultures who have adored the huge, 150 million kilometers
distant ball of gas that we call the sun. For the peoples of these ancient
civilizations, the bowl-like conglomerate of hydrogen and helium was what
it still is today for many astrophysicists: the provider of life.
|When the principle of conservation of energy was
discovered in the mid-nineteenth century, the question of the origin of
the energy created by the sun could, for the first time, be settled. This
principle is the idea that all matter and energy in the universe is constant,
i.e. there can be no more matter and energy in the universe than there
was at its creation, at the present, or at any given time. Because of this
principle, it is actually logical that all stars in the universe - just
like our sun - consist of a finite amount of matter. So, the resources
for the creation of energy are limited. As stars produce their energy by
nuclear fusion, and the mass of a star is limited, they are subjected to
a cycle which makes them age. So, how can we watch and predict this process
|First off, it is necessary to know how a sun is created.
When we start from the beginning - the big bang - it turns out that our
universe started to exist at this moment. During the first, unimaginably
small fractions of a second, the relatively small and extremely compacted
universe containing quarks, electrons, and radiation expands abruptly.