General Astronomy/Stars/Introduction

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Stars, by astronomical definition, are massive luminous balls of plasma. They exist in numbers too large to comprehend, and most are believed to be accompanied by a system of planets. The planet Earth is part of the Sun's solar system of 8 planets, the Sun being the nearest star to Earth. The Sun provides most of Earth's energy, and is critical to the survival of all forms of life on the planet.

Over the history of mankind, human views of the stars have differed greatly. Historically, the stars have existed as major figments in the mythological canon of many cultures, and were seen as objects of mystery and speculation. The Sun in particular has been the object of great cultural, religious and theoretical importance and speculation and has, more specifically, been a central point of debate in arguments relating to the topography and geography of the solar system itself.

The stars have also been great use. Seafarers and fisherman have historically used the patterns of the stars on the night sky as a vast and accurate kind of map. Many civilizations tracked their movements and channeled their findings into calendars, which in turn would determine agricultural practices.

In recent centuries, scientific views of the stars have become much more advanced, following the invention and continual advancement of the telescope, and the discovery of various techniques and ways to assess the various properties of a star.

In the following topic regarding stars, we explore several key aspects of stars, their properties, the continual advancement of our knowledge of these heavenly bodies, and what their place is in the universe.

Table of contents
  1. Mass
  2. Luminosity
  3. Temperature
  4. The H-R Diagram
  5. Star Clusters as Cosmic Laboratories