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The evolution of the stars

  • F. Hoyle (a1) and R. A. Lyttleton (a1)


Difficulties associated with the evolution of stars by radiation alone are briefly discussed. It is clear that some other process is also affecting the stars and it is shown that the stars are capable of adding to their mass by the process of accretion of the cosmical cloud. The gravitation of a moving star causes additional collisions of the atoms of the interstellar matter and the motions become randomized to such an extent that the star probably captures all material passing within the distance at which the velocity of the star relative to the cloud is the parabolic velocity. This rate of accretion of mass of a star is 4πγ2ρM23, and is accordingly of great importance for stars of low velocity. Stars of high velocity are least affected by accretion and therefore in general remain of low mass, while stars of low velocity must attain great mass. The periods of time involved in bringing about appreciable changes in the mass of a star are of the order of 5 × 1010 years and are in agreement with independent estimates of the time scale, as deduced, for example, from the companion of Sirius. The evolution of the components and orbits of binary stars are consequences of the accretion process. The more massive component increases in mass more rapidly than the less massive component in the case of wide pairs, and may therefore in general continue to emit more ergs per gram. The orbit evolves in such a way that the total angular momentum remains constant. For equal masses the separation is proportional to the inverse cube of the mass, and the period to the inverse fifth power, so that great changes of separation and period occur. The evolution of the stars is governed almost entirely by their velocities relative to the cosmical cloud. In the case of double stars the evolution takes the form of decreasing period and decreasing separation. Such features as galactic concentration and the correlation between spectral type and velocity are direct results of accretion.



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* Russell, , Dugan, and Stewart, , Astronomy, 2 (Ginn and Co., 1938), chap. xxvi.

* Seares, , Astrophysical Journal, 55 (1922), 165.

Russell, loc. cit. p. 920.

* Lyttleton, , Mon. Not. R. Astr. Soc. 98 (1938), 646.

* Jeans, , Astronomy and cosmogony (Cambridge, 1929), p. 297.

Astronomy and cosmogony, p. 59.

Bethe, H. A., Phys. Rev. 55 (1939), 434.

* Proc. Cambridge Phil. Soc. 35 (1939), 405.

* Internal constitution of the stars (Cambridge, 1930), p. 391.

* Russell, Dugan and Stewart, loc. cit. p. 832.

* Bethe, H. A., Phys. Rev. 55 (1939), 434.

* Proc. Cambridge Phil. Soc. 35 (1939), 405.

Astronomy and cosmogony, p. 301.

* Astronomy and cosmogony, chap. xiii, p. 349.

* Halley Lecture (Oxford, 1932), p. 12.

The evolution of the stars

  • F. Hoyle (a1) and R. A. Lyttleton (a1)


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