Environmental Science – Astronomy: Stars

Stars are large incandescent bodies. Stars radiate electromagnetic, heat, and light energy which produces their light. Hotter stars glow with shorter wavelength lights making them blue in color.

Stars are held together by gravity. Hydrogen combines through fusion reactions producing energy and forming Helium.

The lifestyle of a star is as shown below:

Stars begin as clouds of gas. Gravity shapes and positions the star as well as affects their temperatures. As gravity contracts gases, cores heat up and pressure increases creating a protostar. Larger stars use fuel for burning much faster than smaller stars. Small stars evolve into red giants, which become nebulas when gas expands and then burnout into a white dwarf.

Red giants expand, their surface cools and turns red in color and then collapses as a result of gravitational forces and the nebula is very hot and therefore blue. Larger stars grow into a red super-giant and have a supernova explosion forming neutron stars or black holes.

Distance in between two stars is measured in light years which is the amount of years light would take to travel the distance. Stellar parallax is an angle of the star’s position. Objects that are closer have a wider parallax.

The brightness depends on mass, distance, and temperature of a star. The apparent magnitude is the brightness of a star from the Earth. Absolute magnitude is the actual brightness of the star at a standard distance of 32.6 light years.

The Hertzsprung Russel diagram shows a relationship between absolute magnitude and temperature of stars.

Hertzsprung Russel Diagram

Thank you and stay tuned!

Written By: Neil 7/16/2019



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