He-Burning Red Giant

Eventually the core of the red giant becomes hot enough to fuse helium into carbon and oxygen. Thus two fusion processes occur at once: helium fusion in the core and hydrogen fusion in a shell around the core.

Eventually, the star runs out of helium to fuse in the core. What happens next to the star depends on whether the star has relatively low mass or high mass.

The figure to the right was obtained from the Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier Homepage.

Back to the Stellar Life Cycle Flow Chart