How does a Star die?

Deep inside the core of a Star a war wages against gravity – the larger the Star, the more intense the battle. It is locked in a constant state of producing energy to push against the Star collapsing in on itself under the sheer weight of its own gravity (if you can attempt to imagine such a thing). While there is still Hydrogen burning to Helium in the core, energy is produced and creates an equal pressure against the gravity.

Google Search: Star in Space




So what happens when the Hydrogen runs out?



As the Hydrogen fades the pressure holding up the gravity will weaken and the core cools very quickly, leaving an outer shell of Hydrogen and Helium that has been pushed to the surface. As the gravity collapses this causes the core to rapidly heat up once again, and at 100m degrees Helium nuclei will fuse together.

This will cause further energy to be released and stops its own collapse once again, this time Carbon and Oxygen are produced. The larger the Star, the longer the fusion can carry out its reaction. As the energy runs out again, the collapse will happen again and as the temperature rises further, elements such as Magnesium, Neon, Sodium and Aluminium are produced.

This fusion process will continue inside the Star’s core going from one element to the next until it has burnt through all the elements we know.

Google Search: Red Giant

Finally, after everything has been burnt the Star will turn into pure Iron and this is when the fusion will stop. Each of the elements will be stacked on top of eachother in layers ending with Hydrogen, Helium, Carbon, Oxygen and so on.

Within seconds – bang.

Google Search: Supernova

With no energy left holding its weight, the sun will collapse and turn into a Supernova.

Could this happen to our Sun?



It will, but not anytime soon. Our Sun will still take a very long time to die however, it is worth turning out attention to one of the nearest Star – Betelgeuse, located in the constellation of Orion.

Google Search: Betelgeuse Star




Only 600 light-years away, Betelgeuse is a Red Giant (a dying Star) and could Supernova any day between tomorrow and the next million years. It will shine with the power of a thousand Suns and will appear about the size of our Moon!

Betelgeuse, according to Scientists, has dimmed about 15% in the last 10 years.

Does this spell the end of life if Betelgeuse explodes?



Probably not – I will cover this topic more on another day but it is certainly not anything we need to start worrying about.

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Urban Issues

It’s been quite a week as I’ve managed to not only solve the distilled water issue, but also brought another addition to the family.

Introducing Nepenthes, Bloody Mary.

The water issue has been solved as I previously thought boiling water would kill chemicals in the water. It appears that I was wrong and this in fact can make the chemicals more concentrated. Yikes!
Instead, I have a tumble dryer at home which collects water vapour from my clothes and deposits this as distilled water, in a plastic compartment in the bottom. Then, I can remove this and pour the water into a small glass/cup for my plants!

A second issue I have is that the windows in my apartment are double glazed and greatly reduce sunlight to the plants – an issue I had not anticipated in the beginning. I’ve now hung up a pot out the front and will need to purchase some more pots for the west side too.

I’ve cut the flower from Hector (Venus Fly Trap) as the plant will spend all its energy trying to produce a flower and I want it to use that energy to thrive into the heads, instead. Even from the above image you can see how much that head on the right hand side is thriving, now I’m hoping it will turn more of a red colour in the coming weeks.

I’d like to look more into the nature of the Nepenthes, whom I shall call Henrietta, and the sacs that it uses to catch prey so I’ll elaborate on that perhaps in the next day or two. I hope these past few weeks have taught you a thing or two, as they have for me, so please do share your own thoughts and experiences if you wish!

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The Next Generation

We’ve come to an important part of my Venus Fly Trap’s life. As you see below there are many new leaves sprouting from within Hector’s roots, meaning that new heads will grow and they will take over the existing grown heads, which will now begin to decay.

New heads compete for the best spot for sunlight

This week I noticed 2 of the heads completely ignore food that wandered into its mouth, indicating that those heads are now decaying. Eventually they will wilt and brown but I shall trim them accordingly to ensure I keep the green leaves around so that they can pull in more sunlight.

You can see decay around the teeth here

The weather has been fantastic of late, it’s either blistering sunshine or intense rain and that helps Hector thrive. Although he is an indoor plant for me, I’ll often place him outside for a few hours if it rains.

It is important to not let the soil become too damp otherwise the heads will grow thin and weak.

Picture taken 8/5/16

Picture taken 12/5/16

As you can see between the images above, the plant is growing steadily and the new heads will take over in the next few weeks.

New heads are still beginning to sprout now

If you look closely you can see several heads under the leaf

Things are beginning to look a little overcrowded so I many need to consider a bigger pot. Any advice you might be able to give on repotting would be vital so please do leave a comment if you can.

From next week, I’m going to look at a more in depth analysis on how and why the Venus Fly Trap grows the way it does. From the intricate biology of the heads, to the benefits of being a carnivorous plant, we shall find out and get to know Hector in all his glory!

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Water Care – Venus Fly Trap

I thought I’d dive straight in with an update of my Venus Fly Trap, or Hector as you may know him if you have seen the previous post on this blog.

This week, I plan on covering the topic of water care. I’ll go into grooming, pest control and other topics as we go further into Hector’s growth and development.

He’s been living with me for roughly a week and is living a steady life. Kept on the west side of the house so he can fully benefit from the evening sunset and photosynthesize late into the day. I will occasionally keep him in my bedroom, facing east, so he can also benefit from the morning sun. As I live on the first floor and there is little around me blocking light, Hector is able to fully benefit from both morning and evening sun.

I have not seen any dramatic changes in growth and the biggest challenge is ensuring your plants are receiving the correct water. Tap water is not the best choice for a Venus Fly Trap as they are quite demanding, despite Britain having one of the highest qualities of water in the world.

Unfortunately, this means that the water is often high in Chlorine (Cl) and Fluorine (F) components which are not beneficial to your plants health. However, this doesn’t mean you have to spend high amounts of money on distilled or bottled water, there are a few tricks to the trade if you don’t wish to part with your hard-earned money.

I did some research and the obvious choice of water for your plant is rain water. North and South Carolina have somewhat similar conditions to Britain but if you have means to pot your Venus outside then do so. Although if there is the occasional dry spell, or your like me and not always around to collect rain water – fear not, tap water can actually turn into drinkable water for your plants.

I’d recommend filling up whatever sized bottle (or means of holding water) and leaving this on the side for 24-48 hours, under room temperature. This will allow time for any chemicals to evaporate and disperse and will prevent bacteria growth. Your Venus should never have dry soil but try not to water them too much, as you see in mine there is a lot of moss so this should soak up and encourage the Venus to thrive but being overzealous here could cause your Venus to grow thin leaves making them more vulnerable to insect or fungal attack.

I noticed the above damage was only slight when I first got Hector but as you can see this has gotten a little worse. This could be due to my over-eagerness of watering the plant admittedly but remember I’m a novice so go lightly on me! If you have recommendations on how often or how much to feed your Venus please do leave a comment, you could save dear Hector!

When watering your Venus it is always best to remember what conditions to keep him in. If you can allow lots of warm, direct sunlight you may only need to water your plant every 2-4 days (depending on how hot the conditions are and how quickly the soil dries). However, in colder more shaded conditions water your Venus every 8-14 days particularly during the freezing winter conditions.

If you’re really unsure of how often to water your Venus, just keep a watchful eye on the soil and when this starts to become dry at the top you can water your Venus and find a suitable pattern.

“So do I water from the top or the bottom?”

This is a question I asked myself in the beginning and thought it best wise to water from the top.

Water from the top will help disperse the feed better and can help wash the soil through of anything foreign that could be potentially harmful if left to sit inside the soil. However, water from the bottom will work and is easier but always remember to occasionally feed from the top too.

As for the head of the leaf that is deteriorating, I will cut this with scissors (see below) gently and allow the green leaf to continue to photosynthesize as there are many health benefits still from this.


If you’re growing a Venus yourself leave a comment, let me know how your growth is going it would be great to see other peoples techniques and share together!

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