Stars are formed by the gravitational collapse of large clouds of cold gas and although a star is essentially a sphere of gas that is held together by its own gravity, it is much more than that, as it is also a giant fusion reactor. At the central core of the star, which is made up of balls of plasma surrounded by a massive envelope of gas, this is a place where it is extremely hot, and as the material is bound together in a very dense region, so this part of the star works differently from the rest of it. A star will grow bigger as they feed off of the disks of gas and dust that swirl around them. As swirling atoms of hydrogen gas collide with one another and merge to form helium and fuse together, these hydrogen atoms release a tremendous amount of energy in the form of heat.
Every star goes through different stages in their development over their lifetime. Most stars are continuously struggling against the inward pull of gravity, which is so immense that the star is always on the verge of collapsing under its own weight. The tremendous internal pressure that is generated by the extreme heat at the star’s core, that pushes outward, becomes a counterbalance for the inward pull of gravity. This heat is pushing the star outward, because the pressure increases, while at the same time gravity is pulling the star inward trying to make it collapse. Energy from fusion reactions in the core continuously push outward moving through the layers of the star until it finally reaches the star’s outer surface, while at the same time stars are fighting the inward pull that results from the force of gravity.
Written for Angie’s Writing Wednesday where today the prompt is counterbalance.