Stars: They’re Out of This World!
Today’s lesson allowed us to explore stars! We learned about the classification of stars by its color to a temperature, humongous blue Os at one end and tiny red Ms at the other (O B A F G K M). We discussed why the properties (brightness and color) of a star depend on its mass alone. Gravity pulls all the atoms in toward the core, while nuclear fusion reactions provide energy output as light and heat. The larger the star, the faster it burns. Stellar evolution describes the changes in size, temperature and color that each star undergoes.
Putting all this information together, we used the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram to examine the Jewel Box Cluster, which can be found near the Southern Cross constellation. The diagram shows the relationship between luminosity (brightness) and temperature class (color) of stars. We matched the Jewel Box Cluster stars in a picture to the colors and sizes on a star gauge. If a star was bright blue and large, we recorded the data in a Battleship-type grid. We collected as many data points as time allowed on this scatter plot. Comparing our data to the example Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams, we were able to determine the relative age of the Jewel Box Cluster. Astronomy takes patience and a keen eye!
Photo credit: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA15656