Nuclear timescale

In astrophysics, the nuclear timescale is an estimate of the lifetime of a star based solely on its rate of fuel consumption. Along with the thermal 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 nuclear time scale because as one fuel becomes scarce, another will generally take its place—hydrogen burning gives way to helium burning, etc. However, all the phases after hydrogen burning combined typically add up to less than 10% of the duration of hydrogen burning.

Stellar astrophysics

Hydrogen generally determines a star's nuclear lifetime because it is used as the main source of fuel in a main sequence star. Hydrogen becomes helium in the nuclear reaction that takes place within stars; when the hydrogen has been exhausted, the star moves on to another phase of its life and begins burning the helium.

where M is the mass of the star, X is the fraction of the star (by mass) that is composed of the fuel, L is the star's luminosity, Q is the energy released per mass of the fuel from nuclear fusion (the chemical equation should be examined to get this value), and F is the fraction of the star where the fuel is burned (F is generally equal to .1 or so). As an example, the Sun's nuclear time scale is approximately 10 billion years.


An hourglass (or sandglass, sand timer, sand clock or egg timer) is a device used to measure the passage of time. It comprises two glass bulbs connected vertically by a narrow neck that allows a regulated trickle of material (historically sand) from the upper bulb to the lower one. Factors affecting the time it measured include sand quantity, sand coarseness, bulb size, and neck width. Hourglasses may be reused indefinitely by inverting the bulbs once the upper bulb is empty. Depictions of hourglasses in art survive in large numbers from antiquity to the present day, as a symbol for the passage of time. These were especially common sculpted as epitaphs on tombstones or other monuments, also in the form of the winged hourglass, a literal depiction of the well-known Latin epitaph tempus fugit ("time flies").

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Term (time)

A term is a period of duration, time or occurrence, in relation to an event. To differentiate an interval or duration, common phrases are used to distinguish the observance of length are near-term or short-term, medium-term or mid-term and long-term.

It is also used as part of a calendar year, especially one of the three parts of an academic term and working year in the United Kingdom: Michaelmas term, Hilary term / Lent term or Trinity term / Easter term, the equivalent to the American semester. In America there is a midterm election held in the middle of the four-year presidential term, there are also academic midterm exams.

In economics, it is the period required for economic agents to reallocate resources, and generally reestablish equilibrium. The actual length of this period, usually numbered in years or decades, varies widely depending on circumstantial context. During the long term, all factors are variable.

In finance or financial operations of borrowing and investing, what is considered long-term is usually above 3 years, with medium-term usually between 1 and 3 years and short-term usually under 1 year. It is also used in some countries to indicate a fixed term investment such as a term deposit.

In law, the term of a contract is the duration for which it is to remain in effect (not to be confused with the meaning of "term" that denotes any provision of a contract). A fixed-term contract is one concluded for a pre-defined time.

Time scale

Time scale may refer to:

Time standard, a specification of either the rate at which time passes, points in time, or both

A duration or quantity of time:

Orders of magnitude (time) as a power of 10 in seconds;

A specific unit of time

Geological time scale, a scale that divides up the history of Earth into scientifically meaningful periodsIn astronomy and physics:

Dynamical time scale, in stellar physics, the time in which changes in one part of a body can be communicated to the rest of that body, or in celestial mechanics, a realization of a time-like argument based on a dynamical theory

Nuclear timescale, an estimate of the lifetime of a star based solely on its rate of fuel consumption

Thermal time scale, an estimate of the lifetime of a star once the fuel reserves at its center are used upIn cosmology and particle physics:

Planck time, the time scale beneath which quantum effects are comparable in significance to gravitational effectsIn mathematics:

Time-scale calculus, the unification of the theory of difference equations with differential equationsIn music:

Rhythm, a temporal pattern of events

Time scale (music), which divides music into sections of time

International standards
Obsolete standards
Time in physics
Archaeology and geology
Astronomical chronology
Other units of time
Related topics

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