Can a star eject a liquid or a gas that has not been ionized? I am implying that these gases could be a source of reusable energy.

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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "emitting" and what do you mean by "gas"? $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Jun 8, 2016 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ It sounds like you are trying to ask specifically about gasses and not plasmas. However there is not really a well defined distinction between the two. I think you need to more properly define what exactly you want to know about. Maybe you want to know about neutral atom/molecule emission? $\endgroup$
    – zephyr
    Jun 8, 2016 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ Ok I see why there is confusion. This is how I see Plasma - Plasma is a NEUTRAL form of lightning yet is more intense in heat. Plasma is neither solid, liquid nor gas—plasma is a fourth state of matter. Although solids, liquids and gases are more familiar to us on Earth, over 99% of the matter of the Universe exists as plasma - in stars, like our Sun, or as interstellar matter. <Scientists & Discovery, Plasma, Museum Victoria, Australia. museumvictoria.com.au/scidiscovery/lightning/plasma.as> $\endgroup$ Jun 8, 2016 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ I don't like the notion of plasma as a fourth state of matter. Another name for plasma is "ionized gas". Even so-called neutral gases constantly lose and regain electrons. A plasma is merely an ionized gas in which the number of unbound electrons is sufficiently high that the gas has significant interactions with electrical and magnetic fields. $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2016 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ They Might Be Giants disagree. $\endgroup$
    – pela
    Jun 9, 2016 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


There are a variety of scenarios in which a star can emit gases, although that's probably not the best way to think about it. A better way to visualize it is in terms of mass loss rather than gas emission. Inevitably, most or all of a stars mass must eventually go "back to the galaxy in which they are in."


In a star the size of our Sun or thereabouts, towards the end of its life it will form a red giant. After this stage, its outer layers will "puff out" creating a planetary nebula. This is essentially the star emitting most of its material out to its surroundings, contributing its mass to the formation of new stars later on.

The other route, the supernova, happens when a star much more massive than the sun starts fusing iron and suddenly collapses, rebounding and creating a large shockwave which expels most of its material out.

Lastly, certain kinds of stars like Wolf-Rayet stars or (possibly) R Coronae Borealis variables can expel matter due to the fact that they are unstable and can suddenly eject part of their outer layers.

  • $\begingroup$ @AstronomyGeek- I specifically stated "Gas" not any type of mass. But I can see a supernova having a 1 percent probability of releasing a minuscule amount of mass still in the form of gas.......ONLY If a supernova is the result of a collision between two stars or a planet and a active star and the star still has unused energy/gas reserve inside its structure. $\endgroup$ Jun 8, 2016 at 8:10
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    $\begingroup$ @user5434678 What phase of matter do you think is being expelled by stars and supernovae? Are you simply being pedantic about the difference between gas and plasma? Astrophysicists rarely make the distinction. $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Jun 8, 2016 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ @David Hammen- Thanks for your participation, nice seeing you again. $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2016 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ In that case, the example I gave of R Coronae Borealis variables would still hold. In addition, it think it is possible that in parts of some planetary nebulae (Bok globules) ejected gas from a star is not ionized, and so is not a plasma. $\endgroup$ Jun 10, 2016 at 6:49

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