Posted by: T. Boyd | March 4, 2009

Red Giants, White Dwarfs, Black Holes, and such

(This article is in preparation, but this is a rough draft of what it to come.)

What are these stellar objects?  Well, astronomers think they all started out as regular stars and these are the results of their”deaths”.  But these are theories that may or may not be true.  (I think they are true, but I can’t prove them).

As in most all things created, we cannot do experiments in the present to see what really happened in the past. The best we can do is make up theories that seem to explain the evidence, and then compare other evidence as it is found against the theories.

So here is a brief summary of the theories as I understand them.

Red Giants = stars that are nearing death.  They have used up all the Hydrogen in the core, in the fusion process from Hydrogen to heavier elements, and there is a outer shell of hydrogen which continues the fusion process, but expands the diameter of the star greatly – typically 200 times its original size.  (Our sun would grow large enough to engulf the earth, it is predicted).

White Dwarfs = The white hot core of the star after it has “died” and blown off the outer shells.  It takes millions of years to finally cool off and become a cold, black dwarf, and no longer visible.

Black Holes = Many types, but one type is a star that had so much mass at the end of its life, that it collapsed under its own gravity to such a size where the density was so great that not even light could escape.  And this is the one I want to talk about more because a lot of the physics needs explaining.


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