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Posted by Astrophysicist on August 8, 1998 17:20:59 UTC

When I said it won't gain any more energy from imploding, I mean that, in order to implode and fuse iron, it have to expend energy. With all lighter elements, being fused in the core of the star produces the heat and energy necessary to keep the stars from imploding. Iron has the most tightly-bound nucleus of all atoms, and thus, more energy must be expended fusing iron than the fusion of iron nuclei produces. Thus, it doesn't normally happen. As I said, every time the star's core runs out of nuclear fuel, it implodes. Every time it implodes, it forms a new element in the core by fusioning. Also happening each time the star implodes, a shockwave is produced that dumnps off some stellar matter from the star. By the time a star's core is iron, if it still has over two solar masses, it will collapse to form a black hole once it runs out of nuclear fuel. At this point it will confide to the limits imposed by mass as stated above (i.e., the Chandrasekhar limit). When all calculated out, between the times the star goes nova, and the matter it radiates off in the form of heat and EM radiation, the star, when initially formed, has to be over 22 solar masses.

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