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Unformatted text preview: Massive stars have greater gravitational compression in their cores because of the larger weight of the overlying layers than that found in low-mass stars. The massive stars need greater thermal and radiation pressure pushing outward to balance the greater gravitational compression. The greater thermal pressure is provided by the higher temperatures in the massive star's core than those found in low-mass stars. Massive stars need higher core temperatures to be stable! The nuclear reaction rate is very sensitive to temperature so that even a slight increase in temperature makes the nuclear reactions occur at a MUCH higher rate. This means that a star's luminosity increases a lot if the temperature is higher. This also means that a slight increase in the mass of the star produces a large increase in the star's luminosity....
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- Fall '10
- Astronomy, main sequence, main sequence stars, luminosity