The Deconstruction of Falling Stars. ( *Spoilers* )

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Sun Nov 9 06:42:09 EST 1997

From: "Roger M. Wilcox" <rogermw at>
Date: 1 Nov 1997 12:23:33 -0500
Lines: 92

Spoilers for The Deconstruction of Falling Stars.

SPOILERS FOR "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" BELOW


No no no no no.

When the sun dies (or as we like to say, "Evolves off the main
sequence") in 5-1/2 billion years or so, it is NOT NOT NOT going
to turn into a Nova.

A yellow main-sequence star like the Sun will end its life by
SLOWLY expanding from its current size into a Red Giant, about
as big around as the orbit of Mars.  This expansion takes ten
or twenty thousand years.

A Red Giant is not the same thing as a Nova, though.  It's not
even in the same ballpark.  Novae only happen when a white dwarf
star is in a close enough orbit around another star to suck
material off it, forming a "mass-exchange binary".  Eventually
the material accreted onto the surface of the white dwarf gets
hot enough and dense enough to undergo nuclear fusion.  This
causes a sudden burst of brightness lasting for a few weeks
or months, which is what we observe as a Nova.  After the Nova
dies back down, the white dwarf can continue to accrete hydrogen
from its "host star" to the point where it can go Nova *again*,
becoming a "recurrent nova".

This little lesson in astrophysics has been brought to you by
the letters "N" and "R", and by the number "12".

rogermw at (Roger M. Wilcox) -- without prejudice UCC 1-207
I'm not flying fast, just orbiting low.  Oh, and I'm sodium.
MSTie #38808 | ... now in new EXTRA bold!
    <*>      |   "The truth, as always, is more complicated than that."

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 5 Nov 1997 18:03:53 -0500
Lines: 6

If you listen to the computer system it mentions "atypical solar emissions"
 causing the problem...someone or something's messed with the sun.

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