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How Long Do Stars Live?

stars, duration, life, length of life
The life of a star is determined by how large it is. (Image credit: NASA, ESA, R., F. Paresce, E. Young, the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee, and the Hubble Heritage Team )

Stars live different lengths of time, depending on how big they are. A star like our sun lives for about 10 billion years, while a star which weighs 20 times as much lives only 10 million years, about a thousandth as long.

Stars begin their lives as dense clouds of gas and dust. After a star forms, it burns hydrogen into helium, and once hydrogen begins to run out, further stages of burning occur, such as the burning of helium into heavier elements.

If the star is less massive than several times the mass of the sun, it will eventually become a white dwarf. If it is even more massive it will first implode and then explode in a supernova explosion.

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Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.