Friday, January 26, 2007

Milkyway Star Wonders

A. Schallers brilliant artistic image of stars in our Milky Way blaze at different colours and temperatures. The red ones are the Supergiants which have a maturity of only a few million years because they burn their hydrogen fuel quickly. Cool stars like red Supergiants have temperatures ranging around 2000'c and less. Red Supergiants are the brightest, largest stars with low density and diameters measuring from 10 to 1000 times that of earths sun. Hot stars have temperatures from 30,000'c upwards. There are exceptions however like NGC 2440 Nucleus with its temperature being measured at 200,000'c

"Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech"

A stars brightness depends on its distance from earth. A dim star closer to our planet may appear brighter than a distant brighter star. Large stars have a mass 1.4 times that of earth's sun giving off more light than smaller hotter stars when they become red supergiants. The yellow stars in A. schaller's image would measure around 5500'c which is the temperature of our earths's sun. Blue stars have a temperature of approximately 30,000'c Young hot stars tend to be blue while cooler stars are red or orange. The NASA Spitzer Space Telescope can detect faint sources of heat unhindered by intergalactic dust using infrared technology.

"Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech" (Spitzer Telescope)

The hottest and most active objects give off ultraviolet energy. Telescopes in space such as Hubble, Spitzer, and Astro 2 are locating and recording stars and galaxies. Voyager has sent back interstellar images to earth on its interplanetary travels. Observations are made using infrared and radio wavelengths. Ultra violet light, xrays and gamma rays are beyond the blue end of the visual spectrum. In our Galaxy it is estimated that there are 200 billion stars although only about 6000 of these are visible with the naked eye from Earth!

Live Long and Prosper Trekkers. Keep on Star Trekking!

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