High-Mass Stars

Part of Hall of the Universe.

In the Hall of the Universe in the Museum’s Rose Hall for Earth and Space, an exhibition panel with images and text about high-mass stars. AMNH/D. Finnin

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.


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.