Massive Stars – The Life of a Star of about 10 Solar Masses
Massive stars have a mass 3x times that of the Sun. Some are 50x that of the Sun

Stage 1 – Massive stars evolve in a similar way to a small star until it reaches its main sequence stage (see small stars, stages 1-4). The stars shine steadily until the hydrogen has fused to form helium ( it takes billions of years in a small star, but only millions in a massive star).

Stage 2 – The massive star then becomes a Red Supergiant and starts of with a helium core surrounded by a shell of cooling, expanding gas.

The massive star is much bigger in its expanding stage.
(A Red Supergiant, below)
Stage 3 – In the next million years a series of nuclear reactions occur forming different elements in shells around the iron core.

Stage 4 – The core collapses in less than a second, causing an explosion called a Supernova, in which a shock wave blows off the outer layers of the star. (The actual supernova shines brighter than the entire galaxy for a short time).

The set of images below shows the star going into as
the tag called Supernova and contracting to become a neutron star

age 5 – Sometimes the core survives the explosion. If the surviving core is between 1.5 – 3 solar masses it contracts to become a tiny, very dense Neutron Star. If the core is much greater than 3 solar masses, the core contracts to become a Black Hole.

If you want to find out more about Messier objects then there is a good link to start you off.

Click here for Messier index

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