How Massive Stars Die

When people think of star death, they most often think of supernovae (plural for supernova). So why haven’t I spent the past bunch of posts on star death talking about them?

Because supernovae are not actually the most common fate to await a star. Only a small fraction of the stars in our universe are massive enough to go supernova. Most stars die fairly quietly, gently expelling their outer layers and contracting to form white dwarfs.

No such gentle fate awaits the most massive stars.

But why do massive stars go supernova?

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The Battery of the Sun

soap bubbles.jpg

Does this image look familiar?

It should—these are soap bubbles.

Okay, now you’re probably going to ask me how soap bubbles have anything to do with the battery of the sun.

Well…you might be surprised to know that soap bubbles actually work as models of stars.


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