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<-   Evolution of the stars   ->
Il faut Java 1.1 pour afficher cette animation
This evolution is shown in the simulation. It illustrates the path of the star in the luminosity/temperature diagram (surface temperature, total luminosity).
Crédit : Paris Observatory / ASM

A star like the sun burns its hydrogen in the center during the major part of its life. That's what happens now and what began 4 billion years ago.

In about 4-5 billion years, the Sun will rapidly evolve. No more hydrogen will be available. Its radius will increase and its temperature will decrease. Then it will explode and leave a very dense core which should form a white dwarf

As the nuclear reactions gradually change the different atoms, the structure of the star changes : the star evolves.

Depending on the mass of the star, the end of this evolution can be :

  • Calm, the star gets colder slowly
  • Explosive, some reactions can cause the partial or total destruction of the star (we then observe the novae or supernovae phenomena).

The more massive a star is, the more it evolves rapidly.

  • A star like the Sun has a lifetime of about 10 billion years
  • A star of 30 solar masses has a lifetime of only a few million years, whereas the less massive known stars (of about 0.1 solar masses) have lifetimes comparable to the age of the Universe (about 14 billion years).