2354: Stellar Evolution

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Stellar Evolution
It may remain in equilibrium for some time, slowly growing, and then suddenly become significantly redder.
Title text: It may remain in equilibrium for some time, slowly growing, and then suddenly become significantly redder.


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This is a pun on the main sequence, the continuous and distinctive band of stars that appear on Hertzsprung–Russell diagrams.Stars on this band are known as main-sequence stars. These are the most numerous true stars in the universe, and include the Earth's Sun. The main sequence forms a major part of a star's lifecycle, with smaller stars spending more time on it, where they transform hydrogen to helium via nuclear fusion to generate energy and sustain itself.

Miss Lenhart starts off apparently describing the main sequence. However, she veers off into the history of Maine, mentioning the separation of Maine from Massachusetts and its lobstering industry, similar to how towards the end of their lifespans, stars break off from the main sequence to form red or blue giants and move away from the main sequence line on the diagram, and rounds it all off by making a play between "main" and the U.S. state of "Maine", which are homophones.

In the title text, Miss Lenhart creates ambiguity by describing both a main sequence star's transition into a red giant, Maine’s recent political shifting from Democratic (blue state from 1992 through 2012) to partly Republican (half the state voted red for Trump in 2016) for recent presidential elections, and a lobster's reaction to being cooked, turning from a bluish-green to bright red-orange.


[Miss Lenhart stands in front of a chalkboard. On the board are squiggly lines of text and a series of growing circles]
Miss Lenhart: After a star begins fusing hydrogen, it may reach a stable equilibrium in which it separates from Massachusetts and develops a thriving lobster industry.
Miss Lenhart: This is known as the Maine Sequence.

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No comment. Lightcaller (talk) 01:32, 3 September 2020 (UTC)

No reply. Tsumikiminiwa (talk) 23:38, 3 September 2020 (UTC)

Are we sure the title text references cooking a lobster? I was fairly certain it was an allusion to partisan politics in Maine using the traditional blue/red framework. A quick scan of the Wikipedia page on Maine politics seems to support that. 03:19, 3 September 2020 (UTC)

I, on the other hand, was wondering why the politics came into it, when it was clearly just star+lobster reference... Strange, eh? 03:56, 3 September 2020 (UTC)
I'm sure it could be both. 11:11, 3 September 2020 (UTC)
I'm not at all sure that the stats actually match the supposed analogy, without a long stretch of imagination to ignore the 'purple divide' yet uncrossed. And I don't get the feeling that Randall would be even wanting to joke that anywhere may "suddenly become significantly redder". But that's just IMO. 14:29, 3 September 2020 (UTC)
I don't believe it has anything to do with politics - how does the slowly growing part fit in? That is just reading too much into it.
The 'slowly growing' part would be a reference to the fact that the population of Maine (as well that of most other states, the country, and the planet as a whole) has been steadily increasing for most of its history. Main has become significantly redder because even though it is still fairly blue it is less blue and therefore, in US political terminology, more red 02:50, 10 September 2020 (UTC) 06:37, 4 September 2020 (UTC)

No mention in the explanation about the fact that US states are also "stars" (50 stars for 50 states on the US flag)? Or is it just too obvious? 08:23, 4 September 2020 (UTC)

Congratulations! Your Main Sequence Star evolved into Red Giant. 19:45, 18 April 2022 (UTC)