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Fusion Lighting the Stars

by Rob Rey

Stars are continuous nuclear explosions! Not simply fixed masses of hot gas, stars are a balance of two enormous forces: gravity and nuclear fusion. On its own, gravity would crush a star into the oblivion of a black hole or other super-dense entity. But nuclear fusion pushes back, releasing so much energy that the outer layers of the star are literally blown away, aloft from the core, and in equilibrium with gravity. From lightyears away, these cataclysmic explosions flutter as faint candles in our night sky.

Stars live a looong time, billions of years, but eventually the fuel of fusion runs out and gravity prevails. In the span of the universe, stars exist as temporary states of matter that will one day transition into other things. Much of their mass will be crushed. But in the process, many will fuse carbon, the other elements of life, and form planetary nebula. Later, these nebula will condense into new solar systems, and perhaps be part of some other temporary state of matter lucky enough to be able think about it.

Color Study
Oil on panel
6 x 8 inches

$450 $450

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Art to help make science a more meaningful part of our lives.

Through countless mythological and religious traditions, humanity has proven to have a deep-seated need for awe-inspiring stories and the experience of wonder. With a powerful resonance, these stories provide a framework for understanding where we fit in our communities, and in our cosmos. They can also give a us a feeling of shared connection and participation with the rest of humanity, helping us to show our more caring and compassionate side.

What are the resonant, positive, and awe-inspiring stories of today? How can our expanding scientific knowledge drive our enchantment with the natural world and grow our empathic interests toward our fellow humans? Exploring these questions visually, Rob hopes to promote or create the stories that best help us to achieve these goals.

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