GCSE level questions on the Earth in Space


Stars go through a life cycle. Some stars will finish their life cycle as a black dwarf and other stars as a black hole.

(a) The table gives the mass, relative to the Sun, of three stars, J, K and L.

Mass of the star relative to the Sun


Which one of the stars, J, K or L, will become a black dwarf? Give a reason for your answer.

[2 marks]

(b) Scientists can take the measurements needed to calculate the mass of many stars. Scientists cannot calculate the mass of the star Betelgeuse. They estimate that the star has a mass between 8 and 20 times the mass of the Sun.

(i) Betelgeuse is in the red super giant stage of its life cycle. What will happen to Betelgeuse at the end of the red super giant stage?

[1 mark]

(ii) Suggest one reason why scientists can only estimate and not calculate the mass of Betelgeuse.

[1 mark]

(iii) In the future, it may become possible for scientists to calculate the mass of Betelgeuse. Suggest one reason why.

[1 mark]

(c) Describe what happens to a star, after the main sequence period, for the star to eventually become a black dwarf.

[5 marks]

(Total 10 marks)