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    17 Facts About The Life And Death Of Stars That Will Surely Make You Weep

    Space really is somethin'.

    Unless otherwise noted, all facts are sourced from NASA.

    1. These are stars. They're engines of cosmic energy. You've probably seen them before.

    NASA

    2. But just in case you haven't, here's one up close. This one is orbited by Planet Kepler 10b between the Cygnus and Lyra constellations. Hi, star!

    NASA

    3. But like most things, stars don't just pop into existence at some point. They are born. A star might form in a vast swath of clouds such as the Carina Nebula, which is an interstellar nursery for cosmic bodies such as stars and planets. Pretty, isn't it?

    NASA

    4. These "star nurseries" are not static. Clouds shift and move and dance around, and when a knot of sufficient mass forms, the dust and gas collapse together. As it collapses, the center heats and forms a very hot core.

    NASA

    5. Science calls this a protostar — a hot core at the center of the cloud that might one day become a star. You can also call it a heart, or a child, or a caterpillar, or just anything with the potential to blossom into something more astounding than you could ever imagine.

    NASA

    6. Especially because the residual gas and dust might form more stars, or even planets, asteroids, and comets. Friends!

    NASA

    Or they can stay dust, which is cool, too.

    7. Once a star is a star, the energy that flows from its center keeps it from collapsing in on itself.

    NASA

    This is a result of nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium, and the resulting energy pushing out of the star provides provides the pressure that keeps it from collapsing under its own weight.

    8. That force that keeps it alive is also the light by which it shines.

    9. So yes, stars are kept alive by the power of their own light. Every single one of them.

    NASA

    10. The smaller the star, the longer it shines.

    NASA

    11. The larger its mass, the brighter and shorter its life.

    NASA

    Hypergiants, the most massive stars, aren't as common as they were when the universe first formed; now they're pretty rare and only live for few million years. Most stars live for billions.

    12. But all things must die, including stars. Their death begins when they use up all the hydrogen in their core. Then, nuclear reactions stops and the star begins to collapse.

    NASA

    Here's a low-mass star death captured by the Hubble telescope. It's, uh, known as the Rotten Egg Nebula because it contains lots of sulphur. But still, what a beautiful way to go.

    13. Average stars (like our sun) will become White Dwarfs. They're faint and small and almost ghostlike against the vibrancy of other cosmic objects. Eventually they fade into nothing.

    NASA

    14. But if a white dwarf is close to another star, it might strip the helium from a neighboring star and wrap itself in it. When it accumulates enough, nuclear fusion occurs and the white dwarf brightens and expels its outer layer to create a novae.

    NASA

    15. But that's just your average star. Large stars (and large white dwarves) will eventually explode their cores entirely to form a supernova.

    NASA

    Space is art, fam.

    16. From there, depending on the mass of the core of the supernova, shenanigans like neutron stars and black holes can form.

    NASA

    (A neutron star is a small and incredibly dense leftover from big star death. Black holes, as you know, are regions of space with a gravitational pull so strong that even light can't escape.)

    17. And it's the stardust leftover from novae and supernovae that eventually give birth to new planets and new stars. And the cycle begins anew.

    NASA

    So next time you see a star, think about everything it came from and everywhere it can go. Stars are rad!

    saraj00n / Via giphy.com