Astronomy - Planets, Stars and the Cosmos by Heather Couper;Nigel Henbest

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By Heather Couper;Nigel Henbest

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Sample text

At first, we detect this from the infrared (heat) radiation given out by the still-invisible "protostar" fragments inside the cloud. When the central temperature of an individual protostar has reached a few million degrees, the gas suddenly undergoes hydrogen fusion. The resulting energy floods out of the young star, making it shine. This outflow prevents any further collapse, while the surrounding dust shell is blown away. In some cases, billions of dust grains will have stuck together to form an encircling system of planets.

In contrast, the gas-rich spiral arms glare with searing radiation from massive, newly formed supergiant stars. -•?.. Astronomers study the structure of our Galaxy with The study waves from the cold hydrogen gas between the radio telescopes. • of radio stars has revealed the Galaxy's spiral structure. Our position in the Galaxy own (shown by a cross, right) We all some 10,000 light years from special. live the center, in or near a spiral arm. 34 is not at Position of our -L Sun in the Galaxy . •« » .

The energy of a star The energy produced by fusion in a hydrogen bomb explosion would fuel a star only the smallest fraction of a second. for The energy generated inside a star's core by the same fusion process begins as powerful penetrating and gamma rays), and finally escapes into space as less harmful light and heat coming from the star's radiation (X rays photosphere. 30 Types of stars Astronomers classify stars by their color, which is a guide to their surface temperature. The color sequence (from hottest coolest) runs from (blue -white), B (white), F and (yellow), to K to O stars A stars and G stars stars (orange) M stars (red).

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