Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dark Star

What happens to a smaller-sized star once it's all burnt out? Larger stars blow up spectacularly in supernovas or at least novas, but for a modest luminary, there is only a long slow decline. I am not sure what happens to these dark star remnants. Are they actual chunks of matter drifting through space, or do dead stars decompose and fall apart into dust? This image is my idea of what one of these cosmic cinders would look like: a round black core, not a black hole, with a cloud of faintly glowing gas around it. I wonder what the "landscape" on the surface of one of these things would be like. Certainly not anything that living beings could visit, as the gravity would be very high and there would probably be lots of residual radiation. That does not constrain imagination, however. It's a world of perpetual gamma-ray winter, where supergravity turns nebula gas into radioactive snow and transuranian elements shine fitfully in icy depths.

"Dark Star" is acrylic on illustration board, 10" x 7", July 1988.


Mike said...

Imagination indeed. I love the idea of something so inhospitable, yet could potentially be so beautiful.

Mary said...

I don't think they can decompose and fall into dust. Unlike us humans, held together by tenuous chemical bonds which are in constant flux as long as we are undergoing the ongoing series of chemical reactions we call "life" -- they're held together by gravity, and gravity doesn't care what you're made of, doesn't care if all your matter becomes inert.

I think the fact that we do "decompose and fall apart into dust" is pretty fascinating, actually. It makes me think about what's holding us together while we're alive... And why it stops working when we die. What holds a storm together? Jupiter's great red spot is a storm that has endured for centuries...

We're more like storms than we are like stars.

Maybe you can paint that somehow... :-)

Or maybe with this image you sort of already did.