MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: why and how does a star become a red giant

Date: Mon Jun 5 10:48:21 2000
Posted By: Adams Douglas, Senior Developer
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 959212907.As

Good question, Jenny.

The short answer is that stars become red giants when they run out of hydrogen to burn and begin burning helium. The expansion to the red giant stage only occurs for stars lighter that about twice the mass of our Sun, otherwise they follow a different evoutionary path.

There's an excellent website with good detail on the process at: ext/ch1 8_txt.htm#18.2.


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