The Life of Stars

27 Mar, 2003 520 Astronomy

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life cycle of stars. In his poem Bright Star John Keats wrote, “Bright Star, would I were steadfast as thou art”. For Keats the stars were symbols of eternity- they were beautiful and ordered and unchanging - but modern astronomy tells a very different story. Stars, like everything else in the universe, are subject to change. They are born among vast swirls of gas and dust and they die in the stunning explosions we call supernovae. They create black holes and neutron stars and, in the very beginning of the universe, they forged the elements from which all life is made. But how do stars keep burning for millions of years, why do they self-destruct with such ferocity and what will happen to the universe when they all go out?

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Paul Murdin 5 episodes
    Senior Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge
  • Janna Levin 3 episodes
    Advanced Fellow in Theoretical Physics in the Department of Applied Mathematics & Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge
  • Phil Charles No other episodes
    Professor of Astronomy at Southampton University

Related episodes

Programme ID: p00548w8

Episode page:

Auto-category: 523 (Stars)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In his poem Bright Star, John Keats wrote, Bright star, would I was steadfast as thou art.