Science of the Stars: Stars

Special Thanks to CMDR Maia Posidana for providing pictures

 

When I was a trainee in the Pilot’s Federation I remember the first time I successfully jumped to another system. The mysterious colors of witchspace left me dumbfounded – and then I was spat out on the other side, to be greeted by a gigantic fiery mass. This mass was a star, and they would come to capture my awe and wonder to this very day.

Stars make up the main component of the larger structures of the universe. Solar systems, clusters, and even galaxies are made of the bright shining spheres known as ‘stars’. Stars are the reason the universe is so complex.

 

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Stars were the first structures to come about when the primordial Nebulae of the past first collapsed. These stars were almost completely made of hydrogen, and led very short, explosive lives.

 

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Mighty Titans

 

 

Because these stars were very massive and detonated furiously the universe began to change. These ancient stars gave rise to more and more complex elements and led to the diverse universe we live in today. Without these stars we would not have such a wide array of elements.

Not all stars are created equal. Some stars are small and dim; some are titanic and bright. In the early 1900s scientists came up with two ways to define stars: luminosity and temperature. These methods help us understand the nature of stars, where they come from and the way the universe became more complex.

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Stars come in all sizes; some are slightly bigger than a city, some are as big as the orbit of Saturn. These sizes are directly tied to the luminosity of a star. The way we categorize the star’s luminosity is a Roman numeral scale running from I-VII.

The numbers stand for the following: I stands for supergiant, II for Bright Giant (a special kind of giant) III for Giant, IV for Sub Giant, V for Main Sequence (into which which most stars are classified), VI for Sub Dwarf, and VII for dwarf.

 

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A pair of M class sisters

 

The other way we organise stars is the temperature method, which is the scale: MKGFABO. Each of these letters represents a different range of temperatures a star can possess.

An M class star is any with a temperature of less than 3,700 kelvin (K). K classes range between 3,700K and 5,200K, G class from 5,200K to 6,000K, F class from 6,000K to 7,500K, A class from 7,500K to 10,000K, B class from 10,000K to 30,000K, and O class is any star over 30,000K. On the low end of the temperature spectrum the stars are red and dim; on the high end, blue and bright.

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Even a distance stars illuminate all

 

These are only stars in the ‘main sequence’ – there are many more special types of stars not covered in this article.  I will be covering these stars in the future, but I challenge you to explore these wonders so that when I do cover them you have some knowledge about these mysterious beasts. The universe is a vast and mysterious place and only through exploration will we come to understand it, ourselves, and the beauty of everything.

 

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O stars never fail to impress

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