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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

The life of a star, in 14 minutes

By Phil Plait

A popular style of do-it-yourself video is what I think of as the "stop-motion whiteboard drawing", where someone films someone else drawing on a whiteboard, explaining some concept or another. It's surprisingly engaging, and a lot of otherwise complex topics can be better understood this way.

Case in point: how do stars work? How are they born, live out their lives, and die? The overall story isn't conceptually difficult, but there are some important details (like how massive the star is) and it can be easy to lose the thread. But if you watch this video, Life of a Star, your understanding will be a whole lot better:

This gives you a pretty good overview of how things work, and I'd certainly recommend it for any Astronomy 101 students who want a quick review, or sciencey-type folks who just enjoy learning about the Universe. Which, admit it, is you. There's just enough info there to make sense of stellar life cycles, and if you want details, well, there's Google. Or my book. Either way, if you want more fun stuff about star formation, evolution, and eventual demise, you can find it - and this video is a great start.

Tip o' the hydrogen burning shell to Tony Silva via a chain of links starting at Giovanni Picogna.

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