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ExploraTour: A Peek into the Lives of the Stars

(Click on the pictures to find out.)

What Happens to Stars Much Heavier than the Sun?

New Stars and Planets

Swells to Super Giant

Star Explodes and ...

Neutron Star Left

Black Hole

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

ExploraTour: A Peek into the Lives of the Stars

STAGE 1: Main Sequence Stars that are much heavier than the sun start off as hot white, blue-white or blue stars, rather than yellow stars like our sun. They last only a short time compared to the sun....more

ExploraTour: A Peek into the Lives of the Stars

STAGE 2: Red Supergiant Phase After the star depletes the hydrogen in its core and moves off the main sequence, the core contracts and heats causing the outer layers to expand. The expansion of the outer...more

ExploraTour: A Peek into the Lives of the Stars

STAGE 3: Supernova Stage In the final moments of the star's life, nuclear fusion produces an iron core. No energy can be gained by fusing iron into heavier elements. There is now no energy source to sustain...more

ExploraTour: A Peek into the Lives of the Stars

STAGE 4a: Neutron Star After the supernova blast blows off the outer layers of the star, all that is left is the central core. The core now contains a mass between 1.4 and 3.0 times the sun's mass but...more

ExploraTour: A Peek into the Lives of the Stars

STAGE 4b: Black Hole If the central core, that remains after the supernova blast, is greater than 3 times the sun's mass, the internal pressure cannot halt the gravitational collapse. The core will continue...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects (not just people) radiate in the infrared. Warmer objects give off more infrared radiation. Very hot objects radiate other types of light in addition to infrared. Click on the picture...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF