by Sophia Mamone, contributing reporter
As I watched yet another star go into a black hole, it made me think back to the life I had as a star, when I was first born to my death. I remember it like it was yesterday, what a journey.
A stellar nebula they call it, where I was first born. It was like a nursery of the Universe. Trillions of stars everywhere! It was a gigantic cloud of dust and gas. I always wondered how I was born, and once I grew older and wiser I realized a star is born when they run out of fuel to burn. I stayed as a nebula for awhile. As a nebula, I wondered which way I would go. I noticed some of my friends going up, and some going down. One day, my question was answered. I went down, and now I considered myself a massive star.
My grandfather always told me I was special, he said I wasn’t average, I was massive, bright, and brilliant. I was going through a star version of puberty! A massive star is born like an average star, I learned, out of clouds of dust called nebulae. I liked being a massive star, it was really fun. It was cool to have a balance between my forces: gravitational inward and the core nuclear fusion outward. Just as I settled and became used to my surroundings…
A SUPERGIANT! I was mixed with tons of emotions, more emotions than stars in the universe, and that’s a ton! It was awesome, cool, scary, frightening, thrilling, crazy, and more! I was red, and bright! If only sunglasses existed for stars! I was the largest star in the universe, in terms of volume, although I wasn’t the most massive. As I wondered how I came to be a supergiant, I learned that Stars with more than about 10 solar masses, after burning their hydrogen, become red supergiants during their helium-burning phase. Now it made sense! Soon, I felt weird. Like I was coming really close, like someone was squeezing me together from both sides. BOOM!
I think I caused a large explosion! I thought that this was the end of it. I thought my life as a star would be over, but it wasn’t. Soon I learned what becoming a supernova meant. I knew it was a large explosion that occurs at the end of a star’s life cycle, so I wanted to live my life to the fullest as I knew it would soon end. I learned being a supernova was a dramatic and catastrophic destruction that was marked by one final titanic explosion. Boy was that a big explosion! Before my grandfather and I lost each other, I recall him informing me about this stage of my life. He said that for a short time, this causes the sudden appearance of a ‘new’ bright star, before slowly fading from sight over several weeks or months. That explained why I noticed a change in my luminosity. Sadly, this fading was leading to my last stage of life, a neutron star.
That was the only thing my grandfather couldn’t tell me, whether I would become a neutron star or go into a black hole. Judging by my mass, most stars predict that I would become a neutron star, although there was always a possibility of going into a black hole. Becoming a neutron star was like the icing on the cake for my life. I was glad I was at least still a star, even though I was a compact star, and the smallest and densest star known to exist in the Universe. I, at least, still lived on! No, I wasn’t as bright and brilliant as my early years as a supergiant, or as heavy and bold I was as a massive star, but it was better than fading away and becoming a black hole. Here, I watched other stars live their life and follow their journey, and hoped to be as a helpful advisor as my grandpa was to me, because without his wise advice, I would have probably had a star attack at my supernova stage and would not have been where I am today.
I hope by reading my guide you are prepared for the stages of your life as a star. As the moral of my life story is, going through stages of the universe is much more than a rollercoaster, but with a wise advisor you can go through just about anything.