If stars can form from the explosion of other stars, then why doesn't all the matter in the universe collect together continuously and explode?

1 Answer
Dec 22, 2015

Because the explosion of a star has no effect upon the creation of another star.


Stars are formed when pools of gases come together through gravity. You can see these pools of gases on the NASA website by looking at pictures from the Hubble telescope.

Stars are formed when atoms of hydrogen start clinging to one another in increasingly large numbers all while swirling in a vortex much like how you see water going down a drain. As more and more atoms come together, their mass building, they create gravity which becomes stronger the more atoms that come together. At a particular point when the mass is large enough and the gravity strong enough, it sets off a nuclear explosion which triggers millions of other explosions and a flaming ball of gas, a star, is born.

Most stars sit many light years away from each other. A light year is 9.3 trillion miles. The closest star to our sun is Alpha Centauri which is 4.2 light years away. If that star were to explode tomorrow you would see a very large light in the sky and for days or weeks too, but the explosion would have absolutely no affect upon us. This is true throughout the universe.