Kaler, James B. Department of Astronomy, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.
Last reviewed:April 2018
Show previous versions
- Sun as reference
- Magnitudes and colors
- Distribution and motions
- Absolute magnitudes
- Spectral classes
- Hertzsprung-Russell diagram
- White dwarf stars
- Stellar sizes
- Stellar frequency distribution
- Double and multiple stars
- Masses and main-sequence properties
- Carbon cycle
- Stellar convection
- Brown dwarfs
- Stellar rotation
- Variable stars
- Off the HR diagram
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A spherical, self-luminous, astronomical body that generates energy through thermonuclear fusion. Over 6000 stars can be seen in the night sky with the unaided eye, shining as fixed points due to their tremendous distances from Earth (Fig. 1). These stars, however, represent but a tiny, local portion of the hundreds of billions of stars within the Milky Way galaxy alone, which itself is just one amongst billions of galaxies. Astronomically, stars play a central role in the evolution of the universe. Stars represent the fundamental constituents of galaxies and are the makers, whether directly during their lives or as stellar remnants, of the elements heavier than lithium. In this way, stars are also integral to the formation of planets and the seeding of the universe with the chemical ingredients ultimately necessary for biological life. See also: Astrobiology; Astronomy; Element (chemistry); Exoplanet; Galaxy; Galaxy formation and evolution; Nuclear fusion; Periodic table; Planet; Solar system; Thermonuclear reaction; Universe
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Its dedicated editorial team is led by Sagan Award winner John Rennie. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 42 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 17,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information