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Stock Illustration of diagram showing the stellar life cycle
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15 Jun 2012
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image showing the stages in the life and death of a star system, and its cyclical nature. at right we see a star exploding at the end of its life, a supernova. as the debris cloud expands it forms a diffuse nebula and joins the other gases in the interstellar medium. later, due to turbulence and random motions in the interstellar medium, dense knots appear -- regions that are denser than others (bottom left). regions such as these undergo gravitational contraction and lead to the creation of protoplantetary discs and then planetary systems (top). when the star expires, the whole cycle starts all over again.

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artwork astronomy astrophysics computer generated illustration cosmology debris dust expansion explosion gas gravity illustration interstellar medium ism light nebula planet planetary system planets portrait protoplanetary disc ring small group of objects space space object star star death star system stellar supernova vertical gas

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