Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Stars are made in nebulae, not from them. A nebula is a thick cloud of dust and gas in space. As the particles of the nebula swirl around, they may bump into each other. Because every object in the universe has gravity in proportion to its mass, particles that touch...

Check Out
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Stars are made in nebulae, not from them. A nebula is a thick cloud of dust and gas in space. As the particles of the nebula swirl around, they may bump into each other. Because every object in the universe has gravity in proportion to its mass, particles that touch are likely to stick together, forming a larger particle with more gravity. This larger particle can then attract more particles, growing bigger and bigger. Once the mass has gotten large enough, the friction of the molecules rubbing together causes internal heat to begin to build up, and the object becomes a pre-main sequence star. If the mass gets hot enough it can ignite the hydrogen gas, and the new-born star enters the main sequence. The burning of hydrogen releases energy which causes the star to  begin nuclear fusion, converting hydrogen into helium. The star's lifespan is determined by how much material it accumulates before it ignites. Our sun is a mid-sized star, and is currently about halfway through its 10 billion year lifespan.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Stars begin as a nebula, a cloud of gas and dust.  As the nebula begins to contract or condense, it heats up and starts to burn.  Usually, the first stage is a "main sequence" star which is fueled by the process of nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium.  Depending on the mass of the star, the star will take a different path in it's life cycle.  Just as an example, our Sun is a main sequence star.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team