2
$\begingroup$

A star emits energy through the fusion of hydrogen to helium in the core through the proton proton cycle or the carbon nitrogen cycle. Over time, hydrogen in the core is increasingly burned, which causes the fusion process to decrease over time. As a result, the star cools down and decreases the radiation pressure in the core. As a result, the core draws a little more together under the influence of its own weight, which increases the temperature. This temperature rise leads to a hydrogen fusion in a shell outside the core.

But how is the temperature increased as the radiation pressure is decreased? Is this increase caused by conduction or convection or....?

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

The temperature increase of the core and shell is governed by the virial theorem. As contraction occurs, gravitational potential energy is released. According to the virial theorem, half of this is radiated (or conducted or convected) away and half goes into the internal energy of the contracting material, thus raising its temperature. You can find a simple proof here.

Radiation pressure is unimportant, but continues to increase in any case. Only the surface of the star becomes cooler, not the interior.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.