High-Mass Stars main content.

High-Mass Stars

Part of Hall of the Universe.

High-mass stars_HERO AMNH/D. Finnin

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8 to 20 Times the Sun’s Mass

High-mass stars are very luminous and short lived. They forge heavy elements in their cores, explode as supernovas, and expel these elements into space. Apart from hydrogen and helium, most of the elements in the universe, including those comprising Earth and everything on it, came from these stars.

For Educators

Topic: Astronomy

Subtopic: Stars

Keywords: Astrophysics, Heavy elements, Supernovae, Stars--Mass

Audience: General


Death: Supernova

High-mass stars die in spectacular explosions called supernovas. A supernova spews more than 90 percent of the star’s mass, including the newly formed heavy elements, out into the galaxy.