Course description

For most of its existence humanity looked at the night sky and wondered about the stars and what they were but had no way of finding the answer. In roughly the last century astronomers have developed various techniques to discover what the stars are and how their lives unfold from birth to death. This course examines the life cycle of stars from their formation in a nebula to their death when they run out of fuel which can sometimes end in the biggest explosions known in the universe a supernova. We also cover what stars leave behind after their deaths such as neutron stars and black holes and how stellar life and death is responsible for all chemical elements on the periodic table including those that make us. We focus on our own star the sun and learn how Harvard astronomers have been at the forefront of understanding the life cycle of stars through the present day.


Associated Schools

  • Harvard Division of Continuing Education

  • Harvard Summer School

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