The Evolving Universe

Smithsonian Institution

Star Death

View/Download Poster (PDF)

Yes, stars die…eventually. It happens when their fuel burns up.

Then one of two things takes place:

  1. Small yellow stars, like our Sun, expand to become red giants. Then they collapse, their outer atmospheres gradually drift away, and their cores cool over billions of years.
  2. Massive blue stars expand into supergiant stars, hundreds of times bigger than our Sun. They end as a supernova—a gigantic explosion brighter than the light of a billion stars combined.