The Birth and Death of Stars
The standard, and taught, model of the birth of stars involves the gravitational attraction of particles to the extent that they finally form a ball of gas out of a dust cloud. The gas is primarily hydrogen and helium. Once this ball has formed, it continues to contract under its own weight until the center, or core, heats up to temperatures of tens of millions of degrees and hydrogen fuses to helium.
At that stage, the star is supposed to have evolved onto the main sequence (see the Milky Way Galaxy), and helium ash is being built up in the core. As more and more hydrogen in burnt, more and more helium ash is present in the core. For stars that have more than 1.5 mass of the sun, the core ends up containing sufficient helium whose temperatures and pressures are great enough to allow helium burning to begin. After the helium begins to burn, the star swells and becomes a red giant. Because of the weight of the helium, eventually a stage is reached where the helium core begins to contract under its own weight, and the temperature rises to over fifty million degrees. At this point the helium ignites and starts burning. When the helium ignites, it begins to fuse, becoming carbon, neon and oxygen. It is then, in this model, that a star will start to depart from the Main Sequence, illustrated below, and move towards the upper right, where will then become a red giant. (This means the standard model considers red giants to be old stars, regardless of any radiometric ages measured.)
Eventually carbon, neon and oxygen also start fusing and heavier elements are formed bit by bit in a specific sequence. The final result is a star that is layered internally with different bands of elements, ending with iron in the middle. Each element is considered to be an 'ash' from the previous burning.
In the standard model, each stage of new element formation requires a bit more gravitational collapse in order to produce the heat needed. Once iron is produced, a massive collapse is required to produce other, heavier elements. There will then be a rebound from the incredible heat in the core and the star will explode as a supernova. The remnant that is left is said to become a fast spinning neutron star, or pulsar. Keep in mind this is the model for stars over 1.5 times the mass of our sun.
Definition: a neutron star is about 6.5 miles across with a mass 1.5 times that of our sun. It is considered to be made up entirely of neutrons. A pulsar is defined as a neutron star which emits rapid periodic pulses of radiation. This pulsing is attributed to its rotation rate. Because the pulses occur so rapidly, some pulsars are considered to be rotating at speeds up to 43,000 revolutions per minute. It is considered that only a neutron star could rotate so rapidly and still hold together gravitationally.
For stars less massive than 1.5 times our sun, the standard model says these stars throw off shells of gas forming planetary nebulas. They end up as "extinct" white dwarfs -- a star which has gone through its lifetime.
In general, the larger the star, the more quickly it is considered to burn. The most massive stars go through their life cycle very quickly -- in about ten million years. Stars like our sun, however, take more in the order of ten billion years to become red giants (our sun was considered to be formed when the universe was six billion years old). The least massive stars would take up to fifty billion years before they grow old.
In the standard model, stars shine because of the energy from the nuclear reaction in the center, or core, of the star. Eventually it gets to the surface and that is when the star begins to shine. So a newly formed star would not be shining for millions of years, as that is how long it would take for energy to get from the core to the surface.
The gravitational model sees areas such as the "Pillars of Creation" in M16 (the Eagle Nebula) as the birthplace of stars.
These areas are so dense in gas and dust that it is presumed gravity is forming stars inside them. What has been seen via infrared radiation is that there are already stars inside the pillars and they are blowing off the gas and the dust. In other words, the gas and the dust are moving away from the stars, not collapsing to form them. The shape of the pillars themselves indicates the stars are in a line, along a filament.
What we have found, in places like the Orion Nebula, are long filaments of plasma which have stars formed along them like beads on a string, where the plasma filament has pinched.
This is only one of a number of examples which occur in many of the constellations.
As the Plasma Model page explains, plasma filaments fill the universe. They are inherently unstable, as we can see from lightning, which is a plasma filament. The forked appearance of lightning is due to the fact that almost any change in pressure or electrical field or temperature will disturb it. Plasma filaments in space react the same way. Because lightning is caused by a differential in electrical fields, it exists only momentarily in order to equalize those fields. Plasma filaments in space, however, are semi-permanent, existing for centuries and millennia. Like, lightning, they are easily disturbed and react to those disturbances. One of the reactions we see is called a "pinch" -- a Bennett Pinch, also called a "Z Pinch." When this happens, the material in the plasma condenses to a concentrated area and a star appears almost immediately. We can see this happening in space. Some very good examples are in the Bug Nebula (on the left) and the Ant Nebula (on the right).
In both the above photographs, you can see the plasma filament itself as well as the pinch which produced the star.
Another excellent example is the "Wings of a Butterfly" nebula, below
When considering plasma activity, then, it becomes apparent that the formation of a star can occur very rapidly, in a matter or months or even days. Given the faster rate of processes at the beginning of time and the universe, the formation of stars would have been even faster, occuring in minutes or hours.
Orion nebula in infrared. New (red) stars are forming along twisting filaments . This tends to support a plasma origin.
Spitzer 4-color infra-red image of young stars forming in Orion filaments
Contrary to the standard model, which takes millions of years for a new star to start shining, a star formed by a plasma pinch would shine immediately as the plasma goes into arc mode due to the concentration of the electric current in the plasma filament.
Due to Marklund Convection, stars will already be layered at the time of their formation. Marklund Convection gives the same sequence of elements as shown in the standard model above.
The Main Sequence in this model: The most important factor in determining a given star's characteristics is the strength of the current's density in amperes per square meter at the star's surface. The second is the size of the star. The higher the current density, the hotter, and hence bluer, the light will be.
Looking at the same illustration as above, the first region on the lower right is where the current density has such a low value that the plasma surrounding the star is not driven into the normal glow mode. This is a region where only dark current plasma surrounds these objects. This is the region of brown and red dwarfs.
As we move to the left, the current density increases. Only a slight increase in current density produces a large change in luminosity. So as the current density increases, so, too, does the luminosity. Since this is a more or less direct relationship, the slop of the graph is close to 45 degrees at this point.
At the upper left is the region of the brilliant blue giants with luminosities 100,000 times of our sun. These stars are under extreme electrical stress, with excessive current densities impinging on their surfaces. This extreme electrical stress can cause stars to explode or split.
Red giants are large stars with low current densities. White dwarfs are small stars with relatively high current density.
There is a problem with the plasma model at this point. It does explain the shape of the main sequence, which the standard model cannot. But it does not give reasons why the bluest stars are usually the most massive or why the smallest, least massive stars are red. In other words, why do we not have very small blue stars with high current densities? In other words, the plasma model has no reason why the mass of the star is related to its color.
There is a potential answer to this, but one which has not been thoroughly explored by plasma physicists: the largest stars are formed where there are high electric currents in large plasma filaments. This would produce more heat at the star goes into arc mode. Thus the star would be brighter, bluer, and more massive.
Pulsars: Since we do not believe there is any such thing as a neutron star, only pulsars, which have been seen, are part of this model. They are not rapidly spinning anything. They are stars which are emitting pulses of electromagnetic energy in rapid bursts. It is a key point that many of them appear to be associated with orbital companions.
There are five characteristics about these pulses:
These five points are inconsistent with a rotating lighthouse model. The alternate idea, that these stars or their surfaces, are pulsing in and out, to produce these signals, is also inconsistent with the data. Pulses of size cannot happen that fast.
Instead, Scott, Healy, and Peratt have shown that the characteristics enumerated above are consistent with electric arc lighting interaction between two components. This is why the fact that so many pulsars are associated with companion orbital objects is so important. Those object may be stars or planets, but what may be taking place between them is something like what we see with Jupiter and Io.
In other words, pulsars are probably the result of ongoing electrical interactions. There is a constant magnetic field around a central star, and then a second star or planet moves in this magnetic field at a constant rate. That movement builds up an electric charge on surface of the orbiting object, and the result is periodic discharges. Local characteristicss would be involved in those objects which give off variable pulses.
Above is the crab nebula. It is the result of a supernova explosion. However, at its core there is a pulsar.
In the above photo of the crab pulsar area, several things should be noted:
As discussed in the section on Galaxy cores, this shows strong evidence of a very strong electrical current, and not of any gravitational effects.