Glossary term: Stellar Evolution

Description: Stellar evolution models the aging of stars and explains how they change over their life cycle. Young stars fuse hydrogen into helium to generate their heat and light energy. As stars age they fuse heavier elements such as carbon and nitrogen in their cores for this energy. During this process, stars change in size and temperature. Once stars fuse iron, they can no longer use fusion for energy and they will start to collapse, resulting in a planetary nebula or a supernova. At the end of this process, stars will become either a white dwarf, neutron star, or black hole.

Related Terms:

See this term in other languages

Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".