In astrophysics, the thermal time scale or Kelvin-Helmholtz time scale is the approximate time it takes for a star to radiate away its total kinetic energy content at its current luminosity rate. Along with the nuclear and free-fall (aka dynamical) time scales, it is used to estimate the length of time a particular star will remain in a certain phase of its life and its lifespan if hypothetical conditions are met. In reality, the lifespan of a star is greater than what is estimated by the thermal time scale because as one fuel becomes scarce, another will generally take its place – hydrogen burning gives way to helium burning, which is replaced by carbon burning.

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  • In astrophysics, the thermal time scale or Kelvin-Helmholtz time scale is the approximate time it takes for a star to radiate away its total kinetic energy content at its current luminosity rate. Along with the nuclear and free-fall (aka dynamical) time scales, it is used to estimate the length of time a particular star will remain in a certain phase of its life and its lifespan if hypothetical conditions are met. In reality, the lifespan of a star is greater than what is estimated by the thermal time scale because as one fuel becomes scarce, another will generally take its place – hydrogen burning gives way to helium burning, which is replaced by carbon burning. (en)
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  • In astrophysics, the thermal time scale or Kelvin-Helmholtz time scale is the approximate time it takes for a star to radiate away its total kinetic energy content at its current luminosity rate. Along with the nuclear and free-fall (aka dynamical) time scales, it is used to estimate the length of time a particular star will remain in a certain phase of its life and its lifespan if hypothetical conditions are met. In reality, the lifespan of a star is greater than what is estimated by the thermal time scale because as one fuel becomes scarce, another will generally take its place – hydrogen burning gives way to helium burning, which is replaced by carbon burning. (en)
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  • Thermal time scale (en)
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