Solar System Sun
Terrestrial Planet Mercury, Venus, Earth (Moon), Mars
Asteroid Belt Ceres, Vesta
Jovian Planet Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Kuiper Belt Pluto, Haumea, Makemake
Scattered Disc Eris, Sedna, Planet X
Oort Cloud Etc. Scholz’s Star
Small Body Comet, Centaur, Asteroid
- Get Lost in Space! (9/14/2018)- Way back in August, in anticipation of the start of a new school year, I set out to update the pages on this site related to space. Those pages tend to be popular among the teachers and students who use Cosma, and I happen to enjoy updating them, too. It sounded like a short, fun … Continue reading Get Lost in Space!
- Milky Way Lost & Found (8/15/2018)- Have you seen the Milky Way? You may think that you have, but are you sure? Unless you live in an extremely remote area, or you’ve visited one, then you probably haven’t seen our own galaxy, the Milky Way, very well, or at all. Worse yet, you may not even realize that it’s missing. The … Continue reading Milky Way Lost & Found
- Umbraphiles (8/20/2017)- umbraphile : One who loves eclipses, often travelling to see them. — Wiktionary Yes, this is that obligatory post about “The Solar Eclipse” (NASA, Wikipedia). Of course, there had to be one — eclipses really are just too cool to ignore. You’ve already been bombarded with explanations of the science and history of eclipses, but … Continue reading Umbraphiles
- To touch the Sun (6/1/2017)- The big “space” news this week is that NASA has announced that they renamed the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft the “Parker Solar Probe” in honor of Eugene N. Parker, the astrophysicist from the University of Chicago who predicted the solar wind. The probe is scheduled to launch next summer and become the first mission to … Continue reading To touch the Sun
- TRAPPIST-1 (2/23/2017)- You’ve probably heard that NASA has found a trove of “Earth-like” planets circling the TRAPPIST-1 system roughly 40 light years away, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a short 2 minute AP video about the discovery. Here’s another video from NASA/JPL with more explanation. Most entertainingly, here’s a 360° YouTube Video published by NASA/JPL … Continue reading TRAPPIST-1
These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…
star : a self-luminous gaseous spheroidal celestial body of great mass which produces energy by means of nuclear fusion reactions — Webster
Star is a luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many other stars are visible to the naked eye from Earth during the night, appearing as a multitude of fixed luminous points in the sky due to their immense distance from Earth. Historically, the most prominent stars were grouped into constellations and asterisms, the brightest of which gained proper names. Astronomers have assembled star catalogues that identify the known stars and provide standardized stellar designations. However, most of the stars in the Universe, including all stars outside our galaxy, the Milky Way, are invisible to the naked eye from Earth. Indeed, most are invisible from Earth even through the most powerful telescopes.
For at least a portion of its life, a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core, releasing energy that traverses the star’s interior and then radiates into outer space. Almost all naturally occurring elements heavier than helium are created by stellar nucleosynthesis during the star’s lifetime, and for some stars by supernova nucleosynthesis when it explodes. Near the end of its life, a star can also contain degenerate matter. Astronomers can determine the mass, age, metallicity (chemical composition), and many other properties of a star by observing its motion through space, its luminosity, and spectrum respectively. The total mass of a star is the main factor that determines its evolution and eventual fate. Other characteristics of a star, including diameter and temperature, change over its life, while the star’s environment affects its rotation and movement. A plot of the temperature of many stars against their luminosities produces a plot known as a Hertzsprung–Russell diagram (H–R diagram). Plotting a particular star on that diagram allows the age and evolutionary state of that star to be determined.
A star’s life begins with the gravitational collapse of a gaseous nebula of material composed primarily of hydrogen, along with helium and trace amounts of heavier elements. When the stellar core is sufficiently dense, hydrogen becomes steadily converted into helium through nuclear fusion, releasing energy in the process. The remainder of the star’s interior carries energy away from the core through a combination of radiative and convective heat transfer processes. The star’s internal pressure prevents it from collapsing further under its own gravity. A star with mass greater than 0.4 times the Sun’s will expand to become a red giant when the hydrogen fuel in its core is exhausted. In some cases, it will fuse heavier elements at the core or in shells around the core. As the star expands it throws a part of its mass, enriched with those heavier elements, into the interstellar environment, to be recycled later as new stars. Meanwhile, the core becomes a stellar remnant: a white dwarf, a neutron star, or if it is sufficiently massive a black hole.
Binary and multi-star systems consist of two or more stars that are gravitationally bound and generally move around each other in stable orbits. When two such stars have a relatively close orbit, their gravitational interaction can have a significant impact on their evolution. Stars can form part of a much larger gravitationally bound structure, such as a star cluster or a galaxy. — Wikipedia
Stellar Astronomy is the study of stars and stellar evolution, and it is fundamental to our understanding of the Universe. The astrophysics of stars has been determined through observation and theoretical understanding; and from computer simulations of the interior. Star formation occurs in dense regions of dust and gas, known as giant molecular clouds. When destabilized, cloud fragments can collapse under the influence of gravity, to form a protostar. A sufficiently dense, and hot, core region will trigger nuclear fusion, thus creating a main-sequence star. — Wikipedia
Stars News -- ScienceDaily News about Stars. Read science articles and see images on the birth of monstrous stars, brown dwarfs and red giants. Consider stellar evolution and more.
Habitable Zone Planet Finder enables discovery of...
on February 21, 2019 at 2:50 pm
A new astronomical spectrograph provides the highest precision measurements to date of infrared signals from nearby stars, allowing astronomers to detect planets capable of having liquid water on their surfaces that orbit cool stars outside our solar system. […]
'Astrocomb' opens new horizons for planet-hunting...
on February 19, 2019 at 6:27 pm
The hunt for Earth-like planets, and perhaps extraterrestrial life, just got more precise, thanks to record-setting starlight measurements made possible by the 'astrocomb.' […]
Citizen scientist finds ancient white dwarf star...
on February 19, 2019 at 6:27 pm
The oldest and coldest known white dwarf -- an Earth-sized remnant of a sun-like star that has died -- could be the first known white dwarf with multiple dust rings. The discovery forces researchers to reconsider models of planetary systems. […]
Tidal tails: The beginning of the end of an open...
on February 15, 2019 at 4:03 pm
In the course of their life, open star clusters continuously lose stars to their surroundings. The resulting swath of tidal tails provides a glimpse into the evolution and dissolution of a star cluster. Thus far only tidal tails of massive globular clusters and dwarf galaxies have been discovered in the Milky Way system. In open clusters, this phenomenon existed only in theory. Researchers have now finally verified the existence of such a tidal tail in the star cluster closest to the Sun, the […]
A nearby river of stars
on February 15, 2019 at 2:29 pm
Astronomers have found a river of stars, a stellar stream in astronomical parlance, covering most of the southern sky. The stream is relatively nearby and contains at least 4000 stars that have been moving together in space since they formed, about 1 billion years ago. […]
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An exoplanet with an 11-hour orbit
on February 22, 2019 at 2:31 pm
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) was launched on April 18 of last year with the primary objective of discovering transiting planets smaller than Neptune around stars bright enough for spectroscopic investigations of their masses and atmospheres. Before TESS there were roughly 385 exoplanets known with masses smaller than Neptune, with orbital periods ranging from less than half-a-day to about two Earth-years. […]
Multiple stellar populations detected in the...
on February 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm
Using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have found that the cluster Hodge 6 hosts multiple stellar populations. The detection could provide important hints on the formation and evolution of Hodge 6 and star clusters in general. The finding is detailed in a paper published February 7 on arXiv.org. […]
Mapping historical changes in dark matter
on February 13, 2019 at 12:48 pm
Combining Einstein's theory of relativity with one of the most powerful telescopes in the world has helped an international team of researchers measure where and how dark matter structures grow in the universe. Their analysis suggests cosmic structures might be evolving more slowly than previously predicted. […]
James Clerk Maxwell Telescope discovers flare 10...
on February 12, 2019 at 3:05 pm
The Hawaii-based James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) has discovered a stellar flare 10 billion times more powerful than the Sun's solar flares, a history-making discovery that could unlock decades-old questions about the origin of our own Sun and planets, giving insight into how these celestial bodies were born. […]
Do you like Earth's solid surface and...
on February 11, 2019 at 4:24 pm
Earth's solid surface and moderate climate may be due, in part, to a massive star in the birth environment of the Sun, according to new computer simulations of planet formation. […]