Carbon burning

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definition The stage in the evolution of a star after helium burning when the core of the star consists mainly of carbon and oxygen. In stars of mass greater than about 8 solar masses, whose cores reach a temperature above 5 x 10^8 K and density above 3 x 10^9 kg m^-3, carbon burning can begin via reactions such as the following: 12C + 12C → 20Ne + 4He or 12C + 12C → 23Na + p or 12C + 12C → 23Mg + n. The time-scale for this phase of nucleosynthesis is of order of five hundred years.
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