Supernovas: Ever wonder how stars die? Or even why stars die? Next, we’ll understand what supernovas are and why they represent the end of life for high-mass stars. Stars, throughout their existence, live in a constant battle: internal pressure against gravity. Basically, right in the center of the stars is a “fuel”. This fuel is the fusion of hydrogen atoms, a process that creates helium atoms. This fusion releases some energy. It turns out that with tons and tons of hydrogen atoms, there is enough energy and pressure to be released to support the weight of the star itself and keep it in balance. That is, without that fuel, there would be nothing to support the star against its weight. And the result: imminent collapse. And why does it need to be at the core? Because for hydrogen fusion to happen extreme conditions of heat and density are necessary, found only in the central region of stars.
But, as we already know, nothing lasts forever. And even the fuel in the center of the stars doesn’t last forever. Sometime this Hydrogen in the star’s core runs out. Of course, even consuming all the available Hydrogen takes many years. For the Sun, for example, about 9 billion years. But when that fuel runs out, the stars begin an evolution towards the end of their lives.
This stellar evolution will depend on the star’s mass. High-mass stars, above 10 solar masses, for example, are starting to use alternative fuels. In other words, other atoms like Helium, Carbon, and Oxygen start to fuse. It turns out that all these other atoms are not as effective and are short-lived. Forcing the star to always change fuel and look for the next option. In the process, synthesizing new elements.