Hydrostatic Equilibrium


  • For the majority of the life of a star, the gravitational force (due to the mass of the star) and the gas pressure (due to energy generation in the core of the star) balance, and the star is said to be in 'hydrostatic equilibrium'. This balance is finely-tuned and self-regulating: if the rate of energy generation in the core slows down, gravity wins out over pressure and the star begins to contract. This contraction increases the temperature and pressure of the stellar interior, which leads to higher energy generation rates and a return to equilibrium.


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