8 incredible images of dead and dying stars
Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 6:34 PM
Looking up into a starry sky, it seems as if the universe is endless — but that’s not the case. A star has a natural life span, but how and when it dies depends on its mass. Gigantic stars burst into supernovas, which “can briefly outshine entire galaxies and radiate more energy than our sun will in its entire lifetime.” On the other hand, when a super massive star dies, its remnant core can be so dense that it creates a black hole.
Others go a little more quietly. Because our sun isn’t as massive as some other stars, it is expected to swell up into a red giant in a couple billions years (likely enclosing the Earth) before it cools into a white dwarf.
Ultimately, what seems to be true for most stars is that they die spectacularly brilliant deaths. Thanks to projects such as NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, we’re able to see them as never before.