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Red Giants and White Dwarfs

Stars may become a red giant or a white dwarfs, depending on its size.

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H-R Diagram

H-R Diagram

Credit: European Southern Observatory (ESO)
Source: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hertzsprung-Russel_StarData.png
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

This H-R (Hertzsprung-Russell) diagram shows 22,000 stars with luminosity plotted versus color. You can see that most of the star plot along a wavy line. These are the main sequence stars.

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  • The color of a star reveals its temperature.
  • 90% of stars are on the main sequence.
  • The H-R diagram shows the life cycle of stars and their temperature and color.

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With the links below, learn more about main sequence stars. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Which stars are the largest stars?
  2. Which stars are the brightest, coolest stars? Which are the dimmest, hottest stars?
  3. If you looked through a telescope and saw a red giant star that was 10 million light years away, what types of stars could it be now and why?
  4. How do astronomers estimate the distances of star clusters from Earth?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: European Southern Observatory (ESO); Source: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hertzsprung-Russel_StarData.png; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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