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Stellar Evolution

From Atoms To Stars

Understanding of the processes of stellar evolution came as a result of twentieth century advances in both astronomy and atomic physics. Advances in quantum theory and improved models of atomic structure made it clear to astronomers that deeper understanding of the life cycle of stars and of cosmological theories explaining the vastness of space was to be forever tied to advances in understanding inner workings of the universe on an atomic scale. In addiiton, a complete understanding of the energetics of mass conversion in stars was provided by Albert Einstein's (1879–1955) special theory of relativity and his relation of mass to energy (Energy = mass times the square of the speed of light squared).

Indian-born American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910–1995) first articulated the evolution of stars into supernova, white dwarfs, neutron stars and for predicting the conditions required for the formation of black holes subsequently confirmed by observation in the last years of the twentieth century.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Spectroscopy to Stoma (pl. stomata)Stellar Evolution - From Atoms To Stars, Stellar Mechanics