How To Blow Up a Star Essay

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Wofgang Hillgebrandt, Hand-Thomas Janka, Ewald Muller.. “How to Blow Up a Star”. Scientific American. October 2006, p.43-49. How to Blow Up a Star In How to Blow up a Star, they talk about the amazing ability of stars to blow up into a supernova. Throughout this article they discuss many of the different possible deaths to a star which make them disappear. Stars are gatherings of gases that are usually very stable and live for millions or billions of years. But sometimes the stars blow up in a giant nuclear explosion, which is referred to as a supernova. In extreme cases, after a supernova occurs, there will be the formation of a black hole. Astrophysicists are trying to figure out what causes the supernova, or explosion of a star, instead of the normal dissipating and gradual cooling and fading out of a star. For astrophysicists, it is impossible to recreate these phenomena. They are so rare, the only thing they can do to study supernovas is to create simulations on computers. Astrophysicists have many questions about supernovas. Recently, they had a breakthrough which allowed them to view the turbulence of a supernova. The breakthrough allowed them to see the bubble like structure the supernova forms during the thermonuclear explosion. Scientists already know stars are made up of many elements like silicon, sulfur, calcium and hydrogen, but they don’t know what causes the spark that explodes these aging stars. I believe this article relates to the AP physics curriculum in its discussion about stars exploding. The potential energy of a star turns into kinetic energy through a thermonuclear explosion. I also believe it touches on conservation of energy. Supernovas don’t lose energy; it is only changed from potential to kinetic. Overall, I thought the article was a descent read. It was not too easy and not too hard. I thought the

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