Interesting Facts

13 Amazing facts about stars

facts about stars
Written by Alizay Khan

When you look up at the facts about stars in the night sky; do the stars stare back at you? I don’t know about that but I can tell you what makes them twinkle. What a bucket of water can do to them. Why? They have five points. And what you have in common with a star. How many stars can you see in the night sky? Every love song and poem ever written will tell you millions. Romantic as it is, it’s just not true.

Only if you have great eyesight and there are no clouds or any sources of light, including the mole nearby, you’ll be able to spot around two thousand stars at a time. The darker the sky, the more stars you’ll notice during the full moon or in a big city with tons of light, you’ll only get to see a dozen or so of the brightest stars. 

Do stars twinkle?

Nope, it only seems that it is twinkling; when stars are especially near the horizon because the Earth’s atmosphere is doubling. It has layers of different density. So when the light from a star is travelling through these layers, it gets deflected and changes its colour and intensity. So what you see is a facts about stars that looks as if it’s twinkling when it’s not.

facts about stars

If you pour a giant bucket of water on a star, will you extinguish it?

Well, even if you found a way to get a bucket of water that big into space, you wouldn’t put out a star. Quite the opposite; you’d make it shine brighter. What makes a star burn is a high temperature and pressure in its core. If you added all that extra hydrogen and oxygen water consists of you’d only make the star more massive and its core pressure higher. 

Our all-stars the same colour?

 Well, it seems so when you look at them from Earth. They come in different colours. Any heated object changes colour as it gets hotter. So facts about stars is that its hue depends on how hot it is. The hottest ones are blue, white, yellow and orange are a bit less scorching and the coolest ones are red and brownish. 

facts about stars

Why do they seem to have five points?

Distant stars look pointy not only to humans but even to super-advanced telescopes. It has to do with the nature of light. It’s a unique thing that can travel both in straight paths like a particle and like a wave. When the light comes across something on the way, its waves bounce and bend around that object, creating patterns. That’s why when you squint your eyes; any source of light seems to have pointed corners.

Why five of them? Well, your eyes have so-called suture lines on them. These lines are at the juncture of islands fibres when the light’s going through the lens. It meets these suture lines and appears to you like a sphere with five arms. Oh, by the way, because your eyes are unique to you. Stars look slightly different depending on the person.

Why do stars seem to be the same size?

Look at the night sky through a telescope and facts about stars you’ll see that stars don’t have the same colour and brightness but the real size is hard to tell because you can only judge a faraway object by how much space it appears to take up in the sky. Some stars may indeed be equally large and the same distance from Earth or the biggest one can be further away from us than the smaller one. We would know because they look identical from our reference point. 

facts about stars

How can you calculate the distance to a star?

The short answer is the parallax method. No, it’s not too laxatives to understand how it works. Stretch your arm out in front of you now. Your right eye and put your thumb over something in the distance. OK, open your right eye and close the left one.

Now notice how your thumb moved a bit. If you know the distance between your eyes and can measure the distance, your thumb moved. You can calculate how far away the object is. Astronomers do something similar with stars when they look at them from different positions and measure the distance.

Facts about stars, How do stars get their names?

Altair, Aldebaran, Sirius, the Dog Star. The brightest stars were named thousands of years ago when they were first discovered. The biggest stars in constellations also get Greek letter names in alphabetical order; Alpha, Beta, Gamma and so on facts about stars. These days, thanks to telescopes, people discover more and more stars.

Now most of them go to a systematic catalogue and have names consisting of numbers that represent the star’s position in the sky. Plus, some stars can’t have names consisting of only letters.

Can you name a star after your loved one?

You can buy a certificate from an agency, but it won’t be officially recognized by astronomers. That’s why one in the same star can’t be named after you. And a whole bunch of other people. If you want to go through with this plan, try naming a star on the dome of a planetarium for a donation. By the way, if you discover a comet, asteroid or a Kiper Belt object, you can officially give it any name you want, like whack a doodle or something.

facts about stars

What’s the most common type of star?

Red dwarfs are the most typical stars in the Milky Way. They’re not quite cool. Remember the colour and temperature thing and not bright enough for you to see with your own eyes. They burn slowly and can sip at their star fuel for trillions of years. The older they get, the dimmer they become. They’re also two times smaller than the sun, which is a yellow dwarf. 

facts about stars

How do scientists know the age of stars?

They ask them what stars tend to lie about their ages. Seriously, since they can’t tell the age of a single star. Astronomers look at groups of them. Their brightness and movement through space; then they compare this data with a diagram that tells them how a star should look in this or that stage of life. In astronomy, a star born two million years ago is still a teenager.

The average age of a Milky Way star is around thirteen and a half billion years. Yes, almost as old as the universe itself. I wasn’t around them. Stars live longer. Giants are bright, but not long live. At least in star terms, they simply burn their star fuel faster. 

How do people use the stars to navigate Polaris?

 Also known as the North Star will always show you where the north is, and Orion; which looks like a bent hourglass, will guide you to the south. For more advanced navigation, you’ll need to have a journal and keep track of time. Then the height of a star passing across a certain meridian will show you your latitude.

Of course, a compass or GPS device might make things easier and more precise. But you can still try to figure out where you are the same way they did centuries ago. 

Are our stars always alone?

Around half of all the stars in our galaxy are binary. They come in pairs that share one centre of gravity. There can also be systems of three or four stars or even more. So short answer, they usually have a friend or two. 

Are humans made of stardust?

Humans are sure made of stardust. When the universe was forming, there was just hydrogen, a little helium and tiny amounts of everything else. Stars were working like power stations, converting hydrogen into helium and when those stars went supernova, that event turned helium into carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron and sulfur. Everything you and I are made of. So you can honestly say there are elements in you that are as old as the universe. Boy blows my mind every time.

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Alizay Khan

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