helium shell flash
deraxš-e puste-ye heliomi
Fr.: flash de la couche d'hélium
A violent outburst of energy that occurs periodically in an → asymptotic giant branch star. It occurs when helium is being burnt in a thin shell surrounding the inner dense core of carbon and oxygen. → Helium shell burning is unstable, producing energy mainly in short intense flashes. The shell flash causes considerable expansion of the star followed by collapse, thus setting up deep convection. As a consequence, the → convective zone in the outer part of the star goes deeper and may → dredge-up carbon to the surface. See also → late thermal pulse; → very late thermal pulse; → AGB final thermal pulse.