Stars

Category archives for Stars

“As the blackness of the night recedes so does the nadir of yesterday. The child I am forgets so quickly.” –Sylvia Ashton-Warner While the night sky is littered with thousands of points of light — the stars visible to the naked eye — we know that beyond what human perception can see, there are hundreds of…

“You can spend too much time wondering which of identical twins is the more alike.” –Robert Brault Earlier today, NASA announced the “most Earth-like exoplanet yet,” a planet just 60% larger in radius than our own, orbiting a star of the same spectral class as our Sun and with an almost identical orbital period: 385…

“Man loves company — even if it is only that of a small burning candle.” –Georg C. Lichtenberg The Sun, like all stars initially, burns hydrogen fuel into helium through the process of nuclear fusion. But as the Sun ages, as do all stars over a certain mass, it starts burning those heavier elements in its core,…

“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” -Ernest Holmes When you’ve got a gas cloud in space that emits light, it’s only for one of two reasons: Either it’s at high enough temperatures that its atoms are excited and it’s emitting its own light as the electrons…

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” –Vincent Van Gogh When we look out into the Universe, farther back to greater distances, we’re also looking back in time, farther and farther into the past. If we could look back far enough, close enough to…

“When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.” –Niels Bohr Shortly after the Big Bang, the first nuclear fusion reactions occurred in the Universe, filling it with hydrogen, helium, and little else. Billions of years…

“The wonder is, not that the field of the stars is so vast, but that man has measured it.” –Anatole France Wherever large, dense collections of cool gas gather together under the force of their own gravity, new stars are bound to form. Every galaxy goes through peaks and lulls in star formation, yet at…

“[I]f there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” –C.S. Lewis The Universe had two periods where light was abundant, separated by the cosmic dark ages. The first came at the moment of the hot Big Bang, as…

“A single tiny light creates a space where darkness cannot exist. The light vanquishes the darkness. Try as it might, the darkness cannot conquer the light.” –Donald L. Hicks While it might seem like there are an endless supply of stars in the Universe, the process that powers each and every one requires fuel to…

Over at Starts With A Bang, Jillian Scudder of Astroquizzical takes on a doozy of a question: If a photon of light escapes from a star, when it hits another star, does it get absorbed and have to complete another cycle before it can escape again? After all, it takes (on average) over 100,000 years…