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
- Touch the Sun (12/6/2019) - Remember how Icarus wanted to touch the Sun, but met his demise instead? Well, scientists at NASA wanted to touch the Sun too, but unlike Icarus, they succeeded! Better yet, they are beginning to share what they learned by doing it! Before we get into all of that, let’s go back and start at the … Continue reading Touch the Sun
- Halloween@NASA (10/31/2019) - The folks at NASA love Halloween, and they do something to celebrate every year. For example, the engineers at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab have been holding a pumpkin carving contest for almost a decade, and stories about their ingenuity invariably make it into the news. Here’s a video from Wired about their 2016 competition. Here’s … Continue reading Halloween@NASA
- 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
- 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.
Hidden giant planet revealed around tiny white...
on December 4, 2019 at 7:58 pm
The first evidence of a giant planet orbiting a dead white dwarf star has been found in the form of a disc of gas formed from its evaporating atmosphere.
Gas giant composition not determined by host star
on December 3, 2019 at 4:45 pm
A surprising analysis of the composition of gas giant exoplanets and their host stars shows that there isn't a strong correlation between their compositions when it comes to elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. This finding has important implications for our understanding of the planetary formation process.
Bizarre worlds orbiting a black hole?
on November 25, 2019 at 3:04 pm
Theoreticians in two different fields defied the common knowledge that planets orbit stars like the Sun. They proposed the possibility of thousands of planets around a supermassive black hole.
Caught in the act: MeerKAT telescope spies...
on November 20, 2019 at 12:07 pm
The MeerKAT radio telescope in the Northern Cape of South Africa has discovered an object which rapidly brightened by more than a factor of three over a period of three weeks. This is the first new transient source discovered with MeerKAT and scientists hope it is the tip of an iceberg of transient events to be discovered with the telescope.
NASA's TESS helps astronomers study red-giant...
on November 19, 2019 at 9:14 pm
Astronomers have been studying two red-giant stars -- older, 'retired' stars no longer burning hydrogen in their cores. The study details an interesting case of planetary evolution and demonstrates how star studies can be an important part of the mission's search for planets beyond our solar system.
Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.
New clues about the origin of stellar masses
on December 5, 2019 at 2:20 pm
An international team led by the Astrophysics Department-AIM Laboratory of CEA-Irfu has just obtained new clues about the origin of star mass distribution, combining observational data from the large interferometer ALMA and the APEX radio telescope operated by the European Austral Observatory (ESO) and the Herschel Space Observatory.
Heavyweight in the heart of the Abell 85 central...
on December 3, 2019 at 2:59 pm
In space, black holes appear in different sizes and masses. The record is now held by a specimen in the Abell 85 cluster of galaxies, where an ultra-massive black hole with 40 billion times the mass of our sun sits in the middle of the central galaxy Holm 15A. Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and the University Observatory Munich discovered this by evaluating photometric data from the Wendelstein Observatory as well as new spectral observations with the Very […]
Scientists discover unpredicted stellar black hole
on November 27, 2019 at 6:00 pm
An international team headed by Professor LIU Jifeng of the National Astronomical Observatory of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) spotted a stellar black hole with a mass 70 times greater than the sun. The monster black hole is located 15,000 light-years from Earth and has been named LB-1 by the researchers.
Black hole nurtures baby stars a million light...
on November 26, 2019 at 3:54 pm
Black holes are famous for ripping objects apart, including stars. But now, astronomers have uncovered a black hole that may have sparked the births of stars over a mind-boggling distance, and across multiple galaxies.
NASA's Webb to unveil the secrets of nearby dwarf...
on November 25, 2019 at 5:51 pm
In two separate studies using NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, a team of astronomers will observe dwarf galaxy companions to the Milky Way and the nearby Andromeda galaxy. Studying these small companions will help scientists learn about galaxy formation and the properties of dark matter, a mysterious substance thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe.