What makes a star a star?
Every star has a story. Through every phase of their existence, stars release the energy that powers the universe. Join Mike Likes Science on a musical adventure about one of our sky’s greatest wonders.
What new words did you learn?
What’s the difference between stars and planets?
Why do scientists study the stars?
Are all stars the same or are there different types of stars?
What’s the Science?
Stars are giant spheres of superhot gas made up mostly of hydrogen and helium. Stars get so hot by burning hydrogen into helium in a process called nuclear fusion. This is what makes them so hot and bright. As the hydrogen gas in a star is squeezed due to gravity, it produces huge amounts of energy, which make it glow.
The size, temperature, brightness, and color of stars vary. The color of a star is determined by its temperature. Red stars are cooler in temperature, blue stars are hottest, and other stars like ours (which is yellow) are an in-between temperature.
Our star, the sun, is average in terms of size and brightness. However, our star is extraordinarily important! Earth is the perfect distance from the sun. The sun provides heat and light to our planet, supporting life on Earth.
The luminosity of a star is a measure of its brightness. Astronomers measure a star’s brightness by examining the amount of energy emitted (given off) every second. The more energy emitted, the higher the brightness.
Gravity is what holds the planets in orbit around the sun and what keeps the moon in orbit around Earth. Gravity creates stars and planets by pulling together the material from which they are made.
Fusion occurs when two or more atoms are joined together to make a larger atom. Stars get their power from nuclear fusion.
A particle is an extremely tiny piece of matter and scientists believe that everything in the universe is made up of particles. Atoms are made up of subatomic particles, these are protons, neutrons, and electrons.
Types of Stars
The universe’s stars range in brightness, size, color, and behavior. Visit NASA’s website to learn more.
Mike Likes Space
Check out Mike’s out of this world playlist to hear more songs about space.
Check out OMSI’s Science at Home videos and experiments.
Photo Credit: NASA Goddard