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What’s a Star and What Are They Made Of?

2 May 2019, 07:15 UTC
What’s a Star and What Are They Made Of?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

What are stars made of? It’s a question almost everyone has asked at some time or another. The answer is very hot gas; specifically, hydrogen and helium, but that barely begins to tell the full story.
So let’s take a step back for a minute and consider how stars are formed in the first place. After we answer that question, we’ll delve a little deeper and resolve some other stellar mysteries too.
How Are Stars Formed?
Stars are formed out of vast clouds of gas (hydrogen and helium) and dust, called nebulae. These clouds are almost
This close-up view of the Tarantula Nebula from Hubble shows a large star-forming region within the cloud
incomprehensibly large and can be hundreds of light years in diameter. (The Tarantula Nebula, embedded within the Large Magellanic Cloud, is thought to be about a thousand light-years across.)
To put things into perspective, in normal, “empty” space, there’s roughly one atom per cubic centimeter, but in a nebula, there could be a million atoms per cubic centimeter. In photographs, from our Earthly vantage point, they can appear as beautiful, colored clouds.
You might think it would look pretty amazing to live on a planet ...

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