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Supergiant Stars

A state of stellar evolution beyond the main-sequence life of a star. A red giant core is degenerate ionized helium, surrounded by a shell of hydrogen fusion, that expands the outer atmosphere in response to higher core temperatures. The hydrogen fusing shell eats through the surrounding atmosphere and deposits helium onto the shrinking core. The ballooning atmosphere cools and glows red; hence red giant. The Sun will become a red giant the size of Earth’s orbit in five to six billion years. Once the helium core reaches 100 million degrees, it explosively begins fusing helium. The birth of the active helium core is called the helium flash. The Sun as a red giant will fuse helium for about 2 billion years after the helium flash.

Radio Programs

Moon and Antares Inflating a supergiant star April 28, 2021

Future Blasts Bright stars with brighter futures April 7, 2021

Third Dog Dumping chemicals into space January 13, 2021

Second Dog A different view of a hot star January 12, 2021

Seeing Red Painting the universe red January 9, 2021

Bellatrix Pondering the fate of a giant star January 4, 2021

More Aquarius A pair of yellow supergiants October 11, 2020

Cygnus Superbubble Blowing a giant “bubble” in space August 30, 2020

VX Sagittarii A monster among monsters August 18, 2020

Sadr Playing tricks in the night sky August 13, 2020

Moon and Antares A funny thing about stars July 29, 2020

Arneb Breathing the “ash” of dead stars March 29, 2020

Mintaka Big stars with bigger futures March 13, 2020

Adhara Outshining the Dog Star January 31, 2020

Land of the Supergiants The land of the supergiants January 4, 2020

Moon and Spica A star’s busy final day December 19, 2019

Apep A “chaotic” star system August 15, 2019

Moon and Companions A star’s unseeable brightness July 12, 2019

Cygnus The impressive heart of the swan July 10, 2019

Moon and Antares Peeling the layers of a star February 25, 2019

Bright Dog Another impressive “dog” star February 16, 2019

Lepus Hopping after the celestial rabbit February 3, 2019

Navi A bright, busy star system January 21, 2019

Future Supernova Impending doom for a giant star August 2, 2018

IRS 7 A giant in the heart of the Milky Way July 10, 2018

Moon and Antares A stellar weight-loss plan May 29, 2018

Good Night, Orion Saying good night to the hunter April 30, 2018

More ‘O’ Stars Big stars with a big influence April 13, 2018

Orion Rising The return of the hunter December 10, 2017

Rho Cassiopeia Practicing for a big blast November 22, 2017

Xi Persei A brilliant but doomed star November 16, 2017

Moon and Companions Cranking up a giant star September 25, 2017

Sigma Scorpii Impressive stars near the scorpion’s heart July 30, 2017

Double Bright The leading lights of Pegasus July 29, 2017

Alpha Lupi A bright star with a brighter future July 7, 2017

First Blast A powerful blast from the past July 2, 2017

More Lepus Revving up a massive star January 29, 2017

Bellatrix A truly “bewitching” star November 26, 2016

VV Cephei A “kingly” star in the northern sky October 26, 2016

Runaway Giant A giant star that’s running away from home October 19, 2016

Sadr A supergiant with a rare tint August 9, 2016

Deneb Circling around a giant star August 2, 2016

Heaviest Star A star with a weight problem July 6, 2016

Tarantula Nebula Making stars by the basketful July 5, 2016

Puppis Breaking up a mighty ship March 26, 2016

Lepus Bounding past the hunter’s feet February 6, 2016

Aludra The showiest “dog” star of all January 13, 2016

The Dog’s Tail The big dog wags its tail — after this. January 12, 2016

Featured Images

Supernova remnant N132D in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Breath of Life August 31, 2020

Orion's Belt

Sparkly Belt March 11, 2020

Images of Betelgeuse before and after it began fading

Fading Away February 14, 2020

The constellation Orion

Land of the Supergiants January 4, 2020

artist's concept of antares

Splotchy Giant June 25, 2018

The Crescent Nebula

Colorful Demise December 14, 2017

Infrared image of Alpha Camelopardalis

Plowing Through the Galaxy January 25, 2017

Sun vs. VV Cephei

Home of the Whopper October 26, 2016

R136, a massive star cluster in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Biggest of the Big July 6, 2016

Hubble view of Bubble Nebula

Bubbly Star April 21, 2016

Hubble view of the Eta Carinae system

The Homunculus October 21, 2015