The Life and Death of Stars - Atlas Obscura

Seattle, Washington

The Life and Death of Stars

Join astrophysicist Anand Thirumalai in the Henry Art Gallery's Skyspace, Light Reign, to explore how stars are born, evolve, and die.

Astrophysicist Dr. Anand Thirumalai studies the birth and death of stars. At this indoor/outdoor lecture hosted at the Henry Art Gallery's Skyspace, experience the artist James Turrell’s Skyspace, Light Reign, a work of art that combines architecture, sculpture, and a unique view of the sky. Here, Dr. Thirumalai will give an overview of how young stellar objects that are often surrounded by wispy molecular clouds of hydrogen gas, fractionate and form protostellar objects in stellar nurseries. He'll describe the process of stellar ignition and how stars evolve into the fascinating objects that we see in the night skies.
Guests will learn about how stars form, the end phase of stellar evolution, and how stars end their magnificent lives. In their final stages of development, stars chemically enrich the galaxy and  participate in its evolution for the next generation of stars and planets. Without this chemical enrichment, we would not be here. Dr. Thirumalai will also touch upon the topic of stellar remnants and look at white dwarf and neutron stars - the hot cinders left behind by erstwhile stars. 
Dr. Anand Thirumalai is a faculty member at the Digipen Institute and an astrophysicist studying atomic and molecular structure in highly magnetized stars, as well as stellar winds. 


Second lecture added at 8 p.m.

This program will be hosted at the Henry Art Gallery.

Per museum regulations, large bags will need to be checked, and no food or drink is permitted in the galleries. Pencils only please. No photography or video is allowed in the Skyspace.

This program will occur in an outdoor space without heat. Please dress accordingly for the weather.

If rain occurs, the program will still take place, but the roof of the Skyspace will be covered. 

Seating is first come, first served.

Email Shin Yu Pai at

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.