General: Hot Stars

Hot Stars: Live Fast, Die Young

 

 

During their short but energetic lives, stars with masses many times that of the sun light up galaxies like our Milky Way through their high luminosities and intense radiation fields. Unlike the sun -- which will shine for some 5 billion more years -- such massive stars exhaust their fuel fast (or well, at least within a few million years), after which they end their lives by being blown away in giant supernova explosions. Together with the stellar winds discussed below, these suoernovae disperse nuclear-processed heavy elements into interstellar space and thereby chemically enrich the sites where the next generation of stars and planets are formed.

The evolutionary paths of these stars toward their final destiny, however, are highly regulated by the huge amounts of mass that are being driven away from their surfaces. Indeed, a very massive star born with 100 solar masses or above may through stellar winds shed much more than half of this during its lifetime. And once it has stopped burning, which of the many types of astronomical supernovae it then explodes as -- e.g. as a hydrogen-poor or hydrogen-rich one, or perhaps as a pair-instability supernova, or perhaps even as a hypernova emitting fiercely in highly energetic gamma-rays -- depends critically on the quantitative amount of mass that has been lost until the time of explosion.

 

But of course, the most important thing for YOU to realize, is that the hot stars I study actually not are those above, but those below:

 

During their short but energetic lives, stars with masses many times that of the sun light up galaxies like our Milky Way through their high luminosities and intense radiation fields. Unlike the sun -- which will shine for some 5 billion more years -- such massive stars exhaust their nuclear fusion-fuel fast (or well, at least within a few million years), after which they end their lives by being blown away in giant supernova explosions. Together with the stellar winds discussed below, these suoernovae disperse nuclear-processed heavy elements into interstellar space and thereby chemically enrich the sites where the next generation of stars and planets are formed.

The evolutionary paths of these stars toward their final destiny, however, are highly regulated by the huge amounts of mass that are being driven away from their surfaces. Indeed, a very massive star born with 100 solar masses or above may through stellar winds shed much more than half of this during its lifetime. And once it has stopped burning, which of the many types of astronomical supernovae it then explodes as -- e.g. as a hydrogen-poor or hydrogen-rich one, or perhaps as a pair-instability supernova, or perhaps even as a hypernova emitting fiercely in highly energetic gamma-rays -- depends critically on the quantitative amount of mass that has been lost until the time of explosion.

 

 

Wanna get blown away by StarLight?

 

-- Check out this link for more details (though still suitable for a general audience) on the fascinating starlight-powered winds of hot, massive stars.

Hot Stars: Live Fast, Die Young

 

 

During their short but energetic lives, stars with hot surfaces and masses many times that of our sun light up galaxies like our Milky Way through their high luminosities and intense radiation fields. Unlike the sun -- which will shine for some 5 billion more years -- such hot stars exhaust their fuel very fast (well, at least within only a few million years), after which they end their lives by getting blown apart in spectalular giant supernova explosions. Together with the stellar winds discussed below, these supernovae disperse nuclear-processed heavy elements into the interstellar medium and thereby chemically enrich the sites where the next generation of stars and planets are born.

The evolutionary paths of these stars toward their final destiny, however, are highly regulated by the huge amounts of mass that are being driven away from their surfaces. Indeed, a very massive star born with 100 solar masses or above may through stellar winds shed more than half of this before it dies. Together with the escaping stellar light, the energy and momentum of these powerful massive-star winds carve giant bubbles in their neighborhoods, and their interaction with nearby cold interstaller clouds further regulates the birth-rate of new stars. And once the star stops burning, which of the many types of astronomical supernovae it then finally ends its life as -- e.g. as a hydrogen poor or rich one, or perhaps as a pair-instability one, or perhaps even as a hypernova emitting fiercely in highly energetic gamma-rays -- depends critically on the quantitative amount of mass that has been lost until the time of explosion.

 

Of course, the most important thing for YOU to realize is that the hot stars I study are actually not those above, but those below:

 

During their short but energetic lives, stars with hot surfaces and masses many times that of the sun light up galaxies like our Milky Way through their high luminosities and intense radiation fields. Unlike the sun -- which will shine for some 5 billion more years -- such massive stars exhaust the nuclear fusion-fuel in their cores within only a few million years, after which they end their lives by getting blown apart in spectacular giant supernova explosions. Together with the stellar winds discussed below, these suoernovae disperse nuclear-processed heavy elements into the interstellar medium and thereby chemically enrich the sites where the next generation of stars and planets are formed.

The evolutionary paths of these stars toward their final destiny, however, are highly regulated by the huge amounts of mass that are being driven away from their surfaces. Indeed, a very massive star born with 100 solar masses or above may through stellar winds shed much more than half of this before it dies. Together with the escaping stellar photons, the energy and momentum of these powerful massive-star winds carve giant bubbles in their neighborhoods, and their pushing on, and heating of, cold interstaller clouds moreover regulates the birth-rate of new stars. And once the star stops burning, which of the many types of astronomical supernovae it then finally ends its life as -- e.g. as a hydrogen poor or rich one, or perhaps as a pair-instability one, or perhaps even as a hypernova emitting fiercely in highly energetic gamma-rays -- depends critically on the quantitative amount of mass that has been lost until the time of explosion.

 

Wanna get blown away by starlight?

-- Check out this link for some more detailed information (but still suitable for a general audience) about the starlight powered winds of hot stars.