Why do stars explode when they die, instead of just fizzle out like every other kind of explosive/combustible reaction?


I mean … is there any other type of explosive, combustible, or flammable reaction known to man that ends its reaction with a terrific explosion that’s more powerful than any of the other combustions prior to the end? It honestly seems like stars are the only things in the universe that end their lives that way. How come?

In: 1


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Throw sodium into water and see what happens (not salt, salt is sodium chloride, look up “throwing sodium into water”)

Also, some stars do just fizzle out. But some stars have more energy in them than others and fizzling out isn’t an option. They will collapse in on themselves, condensing that energy because energy can’t be destroyed. They eventually can’t contain that energy anymore and they explode. It’s like squishing a balloon, energy in the star is like air inside of the balloon, it needs to go somewhere so eventually it’ll just pop. I can’t explain this perfectly so just go to YouTube and look up “why do stars explode” and you’ll find plenty of videos that are super interesting.

Edit: Throw, not through. Sorry I’m tired lol

The distinction is between fusion and combustion.

Combustion is combing oxygen with unstable compounds that would rather bond with oxygen and release a lot of energy transitioning to a more stable CHEMICAL arrangement. The atoms retain their individual nuclear identities

Fusion is taking two nuclei (mostly hydrogen ) and jamming them together so violently that they FUSE into one bigger atom (helium). This is enormously more powerful per mass than any combustion reaction (although heavier elements yield less energy… up until Iron which is the first element that requires MORE energy to create than is produced during iron fusion)

As for why they explode, the mind blowingly huge stars exert so much pressure on the core due to gravity that fusion is ignited. (It would be more appropriate to say the core gets hot enough to ignite fusion) From that moment on, it’s a delicate balance of gravitational forces collapsing the star and fusion pushing outwards. (It does kind of pulse over a long enough time). The primary fuel that is most efficient and easiest to fuse is hydrogen (and isotopes called deuterium), and stars may turn different colors as heavier elements start getting fused as the hydrogen runs out (think billions of years). Once iron is fused, the star no longer gains energy from fusion and begins to collapse in on itself at significant proportions of the speed of light. The potential gravitational energy stored in the sun is dependent kn it’s mass and its radius, so as the radius decreaes so quickly, everything is compressed so violently until one of two things happen;

1, The matter within reaches an incompressible state of nuclear physics and basically bounces off the core outwards violently causing a nova or supernova.

2, Or if the star is big enough, physics itself breaks down as a portion of the star was compressed so hard that the matter itself is dense enough that the gravity on the surface can overcome the speed of light. This is of course accompanied by a supernova in most cases.

Lots more strange things can happen and contribute to star death but this is the long and shirt of it

It… um, implodes.

The energy of fusion out in a star is constantly fighting the energy of the gravity in. So when the star gets old and the source of fuel for fusion begins to run out, it tips the balance for the force gravity to overtake and the star collapses in on itself, causing a massive shockwave.

Also happens very fast, like an astronomically bad Friday night.

Stars are fluffy balls of sunshine held together by gravity. When they die they stop fluffing up and their sunshine heads for the center. The it all bounces off the center and a bunch of the sunshine leaves at once! The star now has much less sunshine and will not shine as bright.