The Stages in a Star’s Life

We all know and have seen stars, but do we stop to think what they really are? Stars are large balls of plasma that can produce light and heat in the area around them. While they come in a variety of different masses and forms, they all follow the same basic seven-stage life cycle, where they start as a gas cloud and end as a star remnant. But don’t worry – this is a process that takes millions of years, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy them if you’ve bought and named one as a gift for yourself, a family member, friend or colleague.

stages in a star's life

Giant Molecular Cloud

A star begins life as a large cloud of gas. The temperature inside the cloud is low enough for molecules to form. Some of the molecules light up and allow astronomers to see them in space. The Orion Cloud Complex in the Orion system is an example of a star in this stage of life.

Protostar

As the gas particles in the molecular cloud run into each other, heat energy is created. Because Protostars are warmer than other material in the molecule cloud, these formations can be seen with infrared vision.

T-Tauri

In the T-Tauri stage, the young star will begin to produce strong winds, pushing away the surrounding gas and molecules. This allows the forming star to become visible for the first time, without the help of other devices.

Main Sequence Star

When the young star reaches hydrostatic equilibrium, it gets a solid shape. The star then becomes a Main Sequence Star. Stars spend 90 percent of their life in this stage like our sun.

Giant

Once all of the hydrogen in the star’s core is converted to helium, the core will collapse on itself, causing the star to expand. As it expands, it will be classified as a Subgiant, then a Red Giant.

Core Fusion

After expanding, the star may become large enough to begin fusing the helium molecules in its core. Once this process ends, the core shrinks, and the star will repeat Step 5 again. Eventually, the iron will cause an explosion in the core of the star and lead to a Supernova explosion.

Supernova

After the supernova explosion, the exploded core of the star will be visible and is referred to as a White Dwarf. If the star isn’t that large, it will simply become a planetary Nebula.

After a star reaches the stage when it becomes visible with the naked eye, it joins the Online Star Registry and can be gifted with a certificate to someone for a special occasion. You can even name it and get proof of authenticity with your selected name being included in the registry. And with more and more stars discovered each year and new ones forming all the time – there is virtually an unlimited number of starry delights to choose from if you’re looking for a special gift.