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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

Deneb Circling around a giant star June 25, 2023

Moon and Antares Rolling through some stellar bowling pins May 6, 2023

Orion Sieve Punching holes in a stellar bubble March 10, 2023

Running Away A star that’s running away from its birthplace February 26, 2023

Aludra The showiest “dog” star of them all January 16, 2023

Betelgeuse The spectacular life of a giant January 9, 2023

Orion Rising Jumbo stars climb into view December 3, 2022

A Big Collapse? Small explosions, big black holes September 27, 2022

Sigma Scorpii Impressive stars near the scorpion’s heart August 27, 2022

Moon and Antares Heating up a massive star August 6, 2022

Moon and Antares Feeling the heat of the stars July 10, 2022

Noisy Cows Cows lowing in the cosmic meadows April 6, 2022

Moon and Antares Predicting the demise of stars January 26, 2022

Moon and Spica Heating up the inside of a star November 28, 2021

VY Canis Majoris A brilliant, messy star October 11, 2021

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

Featured Images

jwst image of a star that will explode as a supernova

Future Blast March 14, 2023

Young Hothead September 30, 2022

direct view of antares, in scorpius

Rare View May 16, 2022

hubble space telescope view of aftermath of supernova 1987a

Super Remnant February 22, 2022

artist's concept of the beginning of a supernova explosion

Final Moments January 7, 2022

supernova 2020fqv in the butterfly galaxies

Early Blast October 28, 2021

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