Stars and Black Holes Essay

This essay has a total of 1168 words and 6 pages.

Stars and Black Holes

By Beatrice A. Lopez

Below you will read research on stars and black holes. Black holes are stars whose core
has been crushed by gravity. In the text to follow you will see how a star forms, read
about its life and how it becomes a black hole.

Stars are composed of hydrogen gas and dust. Stars owe their existence to the force of
gravity. Stars are created from the thinly spread atoms of dust and gas that swirl
throughout space. The atoms clump together into dense clouds that eventually collapse
under their own gravity. Other forces counteract the gravity. The dust and cloud grows

steadily hotter until a nuclear furnace ignites creating a bright shining star. (Couper H. & Henbest N., 1996).

Stars are born when particles of hydrogen, helium and dust combine and collapse, shrinking
and falling into itself making the cloud hotter. Tiny protons bump into each other and
bounce away at high speeds stick together when it is hot enough. Four protons form a
particle of helium gas. Two protons fuse together becoming neutrons. Matter that is
released from this fusion turns into energy streaming outward from the core creating
nuclear fusion. Once the inward and outward forces are equal it reaches its final size and
shines, becoming a star. The length of the hydrogen burning stage depends on the stars
weight. A star with 15 times the weight of the sun uses up all its hydrogen in less than
10 million years. (Darling D., 1985)

The farthest star in the most distant galaxy is more than ten billion light years away. The kind of star
a star becomes depends on how much gas and dust the protostar manages to pack into itself
as it forms. The more mass a star collects the hotter and brighter it becomes. (Gallant R
., 2000).

Three major star types are red dwarfs, yellow dwarfs and blue giants. Red dwarfs are the
dimmest and have the longest life span that is about a trillion years. Red dwarfs become
black dwarfs when they exhaust their hydrogen and fuel. Yellow dwarf stars have shorter
life spans because they burn their hydrogen fuel faster. As fuel runs low they swell up
into a red giant, then release planetary nebula, then shrink into white dwarfs and finally
cool as black dwarfs. The massive blue giants have the shortest life span as they'll swell
up into supergiants, explode as a supernova and end up as either a neutron star or black
hole. (Gallant R .,


A normal galaxy can contain more than 100 billion stars. When you multiply 100 billion
stars times and infinite number of galaxies, the product is infinite. (Darling D., 1985)

A supernova is an explosion that marks the end of the life of a massive star. A supernova
has the mass three times the mass of the sun and explodes. Most black holes form after a
supernova or explosion of a giant star. (Sipiera P., 1997).

Black holes are created when a star's very heavy core is squeezed hard enough to create
matter into a tiny spot smaller than a pinhole from which nothing can escape including
light. (Darling D., 1985).

The super strong gravity of a black hole pulls gases off nearby stars with such a force
that the gases give off x-rays as they form an accretion disk of matter that spirals into
the black hole. (Gallant R ., 2000).

Astronomers have theorized that there is a giant
black hole eating out the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. A supernova is an explosion
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