The science regarding the structure, formation and evolution of stars.

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Dyson Sphere Structures [closed]

In a type II civilization we may need to harvest the energy of neighboring stars. Freeman Dyson gave an interesting point of view that we could invent a megastructure to harvest this type of energy. ...
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3answers
98 views

Size and density of neutron stars

Most of the books which I looked at give approximately 10 km as the radius of a neutron star. Just yesterday I looked at a book by Dave Goldberg titled The Universe In the Rearview Mirror (2013) which ...
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0answers
34 views

How can matter be squeezed extremely dense [duplicate]

I'm fairly new to physics and currently reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Hawking is talking about black holes being the size of a few miles containing the mass of multiple times the ...
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5answers
3k views

Can elements heavier than Iron be present in a star's core?

My understanding is that elements heavier than Iron and Nickel are not formed in a star but, can heavy elements such as lead and others be present/found in a star's core ? I ask because the following ...
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5answers
4k views

Why is the Sun called an “average star”?

This is a statement (presumably in mass, longevity, energy output) many people that I've met have heard in school, and it is known in pop culture. However, according to Wikipedia, about 75% of the ...
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42 views

Locating a possible habitable zone in an ordered hierarchal septenary star system?

I'm writing a story about potential off-world colonization in the dawn of interstellar commerce, and despite such a plot necessitating some degree of FTL travel I'd like to keep the rest of my science ...
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4answers
240 views

Why are some stars very large (i.e., $r \geq 1000 \ R_{\odot}$) but not super massive?

Background While I was in graduate school, I put together some cartoon-like comparisons of multiple stars to show the order of magnitude differences in radii. At the time, VY Canis Majoris was the ...
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2answers
61 views

Is it possible that there are stars working on fission?

Most/all stars are getting their energy from fusion of small atoms like our sun. But is it possible according to the laws of physics that there are stars getting their energy from fission fe with ...
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2answers
39 views

Different width of spectral lines for different groups of stars

As seen in an HR-diagram, a certain stellar classification can correspond to more than one group/sequence of stars (G5 could for instance be either a giant, main sequence star or a white dwarf and so ...
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26 views

Stellar classifiaction and metals

I have recently started to study astronomy and there is a thing with stellar classifications I can't get my head around: The colder the star the more absorption lines from metals are present in its ...
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1answer
66 views

How does the energy of a supernova compare to that of its parent star?

How can the energy produced in a supernova be quantified? And, if the energy of the supernova is not equal to the energy of the parent star, how do we account for this difference?
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3k views

Why is the cut off mass for massive stars 8 solar masses? Why can't it be 10-11 solar masses or so?

I know that stars having a mass greater than or equal to 8 solar masses are termed "massive stars". But why is the cut-off 8 solar masses?
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116 views

What causes the differential rotation of the Sun?

I have read the explanation in Wikipedia, but the problem is that because I'm a beginner in physics, I don't quite understand what more than half of the words mean! Here is the explanation from ...
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64 views

What is the metric at the center of a star? [duplicate]

If there is only one star in the universe then is the metric at the center of the star flat?
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2answers
486 views

How can a low-mass star increase its mass to 1.4 Msun?

In my astronomy class I learned that a only low-mass stars (< 0.5 Msun) will contract, and then become degenerate, until it is a white dwarf. However, we also learned about the Chandrasekhar limit, ...
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2answers
842 views

How to calculate the force of gravity that wants to collapse a star?

In astrophysics, the pressure created by the outflow of energy from the interior of the star counteracts the force of gravity that wants to collapse the star. If I want to calculate this force for a ...
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1answer
53 views

How much energy does proton - carbon 12 fusion produce?

Page 25 of this document from the California Institute of Technology says that proton-carbon 12 fusion releases 7.54 MeV, while Wikipedia says it releases 1.95 MeV. Which one is correct?
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2answers
61 views

Can solar flares affect gravity?

Can a large eruption of solar flares on our sun change the effects of its gravity ever so slightly, and is it possible to measure these changes with the equipment we have today.
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2answers
71 views

Can we determine the surface temperature of stars other than the sun by using the black body radiation theory?

It is well known that the surface temperature of the sun can be determined by fitting the solar spectrum to the black body radiation spectrum. Is this scheme feasible for other stars? Possibly the ...
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0answers
16 views

how to calculate the amount of mass ejected from a stellar system?

I need to write a python program to find the amount of mass ejected from a stellar system and how much is retained. for this I need to calculate the quantity $$\int \rho (\vec {r}) f (\vec {v} (\vec ...
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3answers
89 views

Measuring Rotation of Sun

If the sun had a uniform surface (i.e., if there were no sunspots to look at), is there a practical way to measure its rotation? In other words, if some external force flipped the sun's spin suddenly,...
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2answers
71 views

What would happen if I gathered stellar sized masses of iron?

Lets say I had a bag that when turned upside would start pouring out iron shavings and never ever stop. Viola, there's my infinite source of iron. Now, lets say I just continued to dump this iron ...
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1answer
91 views

Heavy Element Production from Supernova

When considering super massive stars going supernova, what are the heaviest elements that are predicted to be able to be created? So if the star VY Canis Majoris (1200 suns) were to go supernova, what ...
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2answers
109 views

How do we know what happens to stars during their life cycle?

It is common knowledge than Sun-sized stars will eventually become red giants, and later they will get gradually smaller again until they cool down into a brown dwarf, and that bigger stars can ...
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4answers
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How is hydrostatic pressure overcome when a star is formed?

If stars are formed by the collapse of dust clouds under gravity, how is the pressure of the dust cloud overcome? As more material gathers together, gravity will increase, but pressure will also ...
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2answers
136 views

Why does the core of a low mass star contract after reaching electron degeneracy?

I am learning about the lives and deaths of stars with a solar mass of 0.4-2. What I understand is that once the star stops hydrogen fusion after using up all its hydrogen, the star leaves the main ...
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1answer
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Reason why stars do not produce elements heavier than iron

In his book "Origins", Neil deGrasse Tyson says that "if you seek to split iron nuclei apart, you must them with additional energy. On the other hand, if you combine iron atoms they will also absorb ...
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1answer
89 views

What is the bigger number of particles crossing an area: the number of photons or the number of neutrinos? [closed]

Take an squared area with (10²)² m² in front of the sun. What is the bigger number of particles crossing an area: the number of photons or the number of neutrinos? Just for clarification: you can ...
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2answers
140 views

Good books or resources for Stellar Astrophysics at graduate level?

I wanted to know if there is a well established resource in the field of Stellar Astrophysics which is not very outdated. I have seen plenty of books at my university library but I do not know if ...
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33 views

How to measure the spectra of the stars

I recently made a mini spectrometer using a CD. I have used that to measure the spectrum of the Sun, moon and various artificial light sources. My question is how can I use it or modify it to measure ...
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2answers
7k views

Why is the Sun almost perfectly spherical?

Relatively recent measurements indicate that the Sun is nearly the roundest object ever measured. If scaled to the size of a beach ball, it would be so round that the difference between the widest ...
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1answer
82 views

In what ways does the sun output energy?

I'm curious about the energy output of the sun, and how it breaks down. What fraction is from EM radiation, solar wind, neutrinos, et cetera? How does energy output vary over the EM spectrum? I was ...
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1answer
269 views

How to calculate the radius of a main sequence star based on mass?

What would I need in addition to the mass to figure out the radius of a main sequence star?
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1answer
71 views

How does fusion work in the Sun if neutrons have more mass than protons?

According to my textbook, the next result of the fusion reactions in the Sun is: 4H -> He + neutrinos + gamma photons However, if hydrogen atoms are basically a proton and helium atoms are 2 protons ...
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0answers
52 views

What is the definition of the “stellar angular diameter” in stellar astronomy?

(Following the definitions here: http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0509535.pdf ) What is the "stellar angular diameter", as measured by astronomers specializing in stellar astrophysics? Using the ...
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63 views

Using stellar spectroscopy to measure stellar parameters, why is it log g?

Stellar spectroscopy can in principle measure the stellar surface gravity, radii, effective temperature, and stellar rotation. Why is it that surface gravity g is ...
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2answers
153 views

Density of the Sun

Being either on the surface or somewhere inside; where is the density of the gases of the Sun equal to the density of the ground we stand on here on earth?
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2answers
111 views

What causes the death of the Sun?

In a previous question I learned that in each second only a miniscule portion of the total hydrogen in the Sun is converted to helium and that the number is 1/10^18 of its mass converted each second. ...
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1answer
133 views

Where is the Hydrogen the Sun consumes?

I understand the Sun consumes 600,000,000 tons of Hydrogen each second. Where is this Hydrogen? Is all the Hydrogen the Sun will ever consume inside it or are there vast amounts of Hydrogen in space ...
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3answers
158 views

Are there more photons than nuclei within the Sun?

Are there more photons than nuclei within the Sun? Is there a good way to estimate what the ratio would be?
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20 views

How do exoplanet surveys precisely measure stellar properties?

All measurements in exoplanetary studies (e.g. the Kepler study) depend on how precisely we know the properties of a star. For instance, the planet mass and radius is known only as well as the star's ...
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1answer
104 views

How do inert helium cores in sub giant stars create a pressure force?

I'm reading about the sub giant branch (SGB) and the evolution to the red giant branch (RGB). On the SGB stars have burned all hydrogen into helium, as a result, they have an inert helium core. The ...
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2answers
53 views

In stellar astrophysics, what is the difference between protostellar disk and circumstellar disk?

I have noticed both the terms "protostellar disk" and "circumstellar disk" in the stellar astrophysics and exoplanet literature. What exactly is the difference?
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78 views

Why are stellar clusters useful for developing stellar evolution models?

I know that for globular clusters it is assumed that the stars developed around the same time thus their initial chemical compositions are roughly the same. My question is how does this tell us about ...
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1answer
25 views

Why do we ignore the Flux - Luminosity relation when deriving the Eddington Luminosity?

I was just doing the derivation for the Eddington Luminosity by considering the momentum equation, $$ -\frac{Gm}{4\pi r^4} = \frac{dP}{dm} $$ and the radiative transport pressure $$ \frac{dT}{dr} = ...
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1answer
364 views

Properties of a star made from water? [closed]

What would the properties of a star formed from a sphere a water/ice be? One large (massive) enough to collapse into an ordinary, mostly plasma star. I understand that it would have particularly high ...
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2answers
509 views

How to calculate radius of a sphere of Ideal gas?

The problem I am faced with is approximating the mass of the sun, and I thought that a fancy approach would be to approximate the sun as being made up entirely of hydrogen atoms, finding the resulting ...
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3answers
142 views

Negative density solutions of the Poisson's Equation for polytropic gas (aka Lane-Emden Equation)

Question: What does it mean by when we obtain negative density for specific region in space as a solution of Poisson's equations? I will explain the situation as detailed as possible, so that anyone ...
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1answer
68 views

What are some current models for neutron star core? [closed]

How are neutron star cores described today, do we use models of superfluidity/superconductivity for instance?
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265 views

Is it possible to calculate the radius of star?

Suppose I know the Luminosity $L$, temperature $T$ and Mass $M$ of star. Assuming the star is very heavy so that we can treat it to be radiation-dominated star. This would imply that pressure inside ...