Astronomy A Closer Look: Stars

Discussion in 'Astronomy' started by Mizar, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    Stars are a basic element in the universe of matter. Stars are the basic building blocks of everything in the universe ( well actually atoms are but in space..) The average star is composed of hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe. It is speculated that when the universe began that all that was here was hydrogen. The hydrogen began to come together and eventually clump together. As these clumps came together they gaind more gravity and attaracted mor hydrogen. Eventually these clumps became so big they turned into stars. The actuall process of star formation is one of the great mysteries of the universe that is yet to be solved. The star works by nuclear fusion. Meaning that it takes say hydrogen and combines it with other hydrogen atoms to crate one atom of heiilum. THe heilum is slightly less in weight and that slight difference is given off in energy or heat and light. The heilum can also be fussed to create heiver elements. This is how all the elements we have today were formed. When you drink a glass of water the hydrogen atoms were formed at the begining of the universe and the oxygen atomes were crated in the heart of some star.

    Depending on how a star is "burning" its light may vary in color. Different elements give off different color light. This is something in basic chemestiry. Each element gives off a different wavelength of light when its electrons are excited. The wave length can be measured by a spectrometer and thus tell what element is in that star.

    Stars come in a variety of sizes and configuratons and types.
    Quick List of types of stars

    Red Giant- A old star that is near the end of its life. It has swelled to maybe 3 xs its origonal size and is burning the last of its hydrogen fuel and mostly heilum along with heiver elements. It will most likely explode in a supernova.

    White Dwarf- a super hot super dense star of the size of about a small planet

    Pulsar- A higly unstable star thats center has colapsed into a black hole. it shoot 2 super powerful beams of xray and energy into space and a pulseating interval

    Variable- Stars that often rise and fall in brightness are sometimes pulsars or just being eclipsed regularly by another celestail body. Could also loose perodic brightness due to large sun spots on the star.

    Binary- A system of 2 stars interlocked in gravity. They actually orbit each otehr and may even share gases at times.

    ( there are many other types of stars that is just a breif description of commonly found stars. if any otehr mods would like to edit or add to this list feel free)

    The brightest stars that appear white are the hotest and the red stars are the coolest and also the oldest.

    Stars can from in large groups in a large hydrogen gas cloud called a nebula and form in a system called a star cluster. Star clusters, and nebula will be covered else ware in this Closer Look Seires