Stars

Stars are celestial bodies made up of hot gases. Stars radiate energy that comes form thermonuclear reactions. In this section you will learn all about stars and their importance in the universe.

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Relying on a collapsed star to power our lives on Earth might seem like a good solution to our energy crisis, but there's just one tiny problem: The process might be lethal.

By Kate Kershner

A single pulsar is fascinating enough, but as a set, these rapidly rotating neutron stars help scientists figure out mysteries of the universe.

By Kate Kershner

It's not uncommon for planets to wander alone through the universe like big, sullen teenagers. But how do they end up flying solo, and could they still harbor life?

By Kate Kershner

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When a huge star collapses, it releases massive amounts of radiation in concentrated streams. If one of those streams hit Earth, it wouldn't be pretty. But where should we put "gamma-ray bursts" on our list of anxieties?

By Kate Kershner

A dying star can explode with the force of a few octillion nuclear bombs and create any element in the universe. But why do stars go supernova?

By Laurie L. Dove

It wasn't so long ago that astronomers thought the universe contained normal matter, or baryonic matter, the base unit of which is the atom. But when it comes to the cosmos, there's always more than meets the eye. What else is hanging out in space?

By William Harris

Stars are enormous celestial bodies hot enough to register millions of degrees. They're fascinating scientific phenomena, but is it actually possible for scientists to create them?

By Jonathan Strickland

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Galaxies got their start nearly 14 billion years ago, with one unimaginably hot, dense and tiny pinpoint. How did we arrive at the universe's sprawling state of galactic affairs today?

By Robert Lamb

Long, long ago, our sun began its life as a mere twinkle in the universe's eye. How did it become the ruler of our solar system?

By Robert Lamb

It's your home, and a colossally sized one at that. How much do you know about your galactic digs and their residence amid the yawning universe?

By Robert Lamb

A look at the night sky at any time of year will reveal a faint band of light stretching across the sky -- our solar system's home, the Milky Way. How much do we really know about it?

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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When you look up at night and see thousands of stars, have you ever wondered what you are looking at? Learn what stars are and how they live and die!

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

It turns out that measuring the distance to a star is an interesting problem! Astronomers have come up with two different techniques to estimate how far away any given star is.

According to an article I read, astronomers are able to detect that star has a planet orbiting it by observing the "wobble" of the star induced by the gravitational pull of one or more planets. At the tremendous distances involved, what is the technology that enables these discoveries?