The Life of a star For Dummies !

January 5, 2007

When going through one of the posts in this month’s edition of Philosophia Naturalis, I discovered a cute set of animations at Voldosta State University’s site. And the subject ? Well, as the title should have already told you, it is the life of stars !

What is going to happen to our Sun in the future ?

What really happens inside the sun as it slowly dies ?

And, a more interesting question – what happens if you have a star bigger than the Sun ?

Or, if that sounds like a remote question , then try this – what makes the carbon in you and me ? And Why do astronomers proudly declare that “We are Star dust !” ? 🙂

That is not the only reason why these animations caught my attention. You see , when I was in my school, our physics book had about two pages about how stars are born and how they die. And our physics teacher (Mrs.Sumitra Raghavan, in case you’re one of my schoolmates and you’re curious to know who I’m talking about) decided that that part of the lesson would be left for me to teach it to the rest of the class.

Indeed, if I remember correctly, the whole of cosmology/astrophysics chapter was taught by students . I did try my level best then (and had great fun 🙂 ) – but, now, looking back at that attempt at “teaching” , I can’t but feel a slight twinge of guilt at not being able to convey the wonder of it all…

The first thought which occured to me as I saw these animations, is how effective I could’ve been at conveying what I wanted to say, if only I could’ve showed the class something like this !


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