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Professor Brian Cox explains how stars die. Stars are only able to survive as long as they have a supply of hydrogen to burn. But all stars will eventually run out and then die.

Our star, the Sun, will run out of fuel in about a billion years. At this point, the Sun will become a red giant, as the core collapses and the outer layers expand. This will cause the Earth to become superheated, destroying any remaining life.

After about six billion years, this red giant will explode to form a massive nebula with a dim white dwarf at its core. This fate is the same for all stars in the cosmos.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
5 May 2011

Classroom Ideas

After watching this clip, challenge students to explore and explain why the Sun will not form a supernova when it explodes. Students can then research the chemical composition of the remains of a star the size of the Sun, and for more massive stars as well. Students can research the fate of stars of different sizes and construct a flow diagram for the life cycle of a star. They can also research the nearest star to Earth in each of these categories.

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