Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are?
For ages humanity has looked up at the night sky only to wonder about those thousands of little points of light that decorate it. What are they? Can we get to them? Are they gods? Are they the dead? These are some of the questions that were prevalent during ancient times. Some of them were even considered truths. Now however, we know these are just myths. The real deal behind the ‘stars’ in the sky is much more impressive.
What is a star?
We have all seen stars in the night sky and never quite understood what they were until the dawn of the 19th century. Even the big and bright Sun that illuminates the daytime is a star, although it’s a sphere. Why? To understand that we need to learn what stars really are. So let’s learn what a star is.
In a scientific sense, a star is a ball (yes, a star is actually a ball) of hydrogen and helium that undergoes nuclear fusion at its core. Temperatures at the core are so high that hydrogen atoms are fused together to form helium atoms. This provides an outward force which balances the inward force of gravity acting on the star.
However, a star is not as simple as it seems. To understand their complex nature, I am going to post a series of articles to cover the basic dynamics that govern and define these beautiful objects. Crunching all this information in one post won’t do justice to the true extent of the complexity behind them.
This post is just a collection of all these articles whose links are displayed below. You can also view this post in the Encyclopedia section of this blog, which contains all the basic information about the basic concepts of astronomy and astrophysics. If you are ready, let us all begin our journey to understand these marvellous wonders called stars!!
More on this topic coming soon…