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6-7 Our Starry Skies

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Our Starry Skies

  A star like the Sun begins as a cloud of hydrogen gas and dust which is gradually squashed by the forces of gravity and turns into helium gas to make a star.  This process produces huge amounts of energy.  Near the end of the life of a star, the helium changes into even heavier substances.  These giant stars eventually blow up in huge explosions called supernovae.  During these explosions elements like carbon, silicon, iron and oxygen are scattered into space.  New stars and planets are created from this debris.

  The biggest stars are called "red giants."  They have a lot of pressure in their core.  Red giants burn quickly and brightly and die earliest, leaving the core as a "white dwarf."  Even our Sun will finally end its life as a tiny "white dwarf" star.

  Super-dense stars called neutron stars measure about 20 miles across.  They spin quickly and send out radio signals.  The regular pulses picked up from these stars by large radio receivers on Earth give them the name pulsars.

  Eta Carinae is the brightest known star of all.  It is 150 times bigger than our Sun, and six million times brighter.

Sir Arthur Eddington (1882-1944) was the first person to realize that the spiral shapes we see in the sky were galaxies.  He also proved that Einstein's theory of gravity was correct.  He was able to do this by observing light being bent during an eclipse in the year 1919.  Eddington wrote several famous books that explained the nature of the universe.  His books explain this in a simple and understandable way.  Check your local or school library for books by Sir Arthur Eddington to learn more about the universe.

 

Answer the questions below

 
According to this passage stars begin as a

galaxy.

huge amounts of energy.

cloud of hydrogen gas and dust.

 
A giant star explosion is called a .
 
The biggest stars are called red .
 
Our Sun will eventually end its life as a white .
 

Eta Carinae, the brightest known star of all is

150 times smaller than our Sun.

the same size as the Sun.

150 times bigger than our Sun.

 
Sir Arthur Eddington proved that Einstein's theory of was correct.
 

Super-dense stars called neutron stars measure about 20 across.

 
Neutron stars spin quickly and send out signals.
 
The hydrogen gas turns into gas producing large amounts of energy.
 
According to this passage, red giants burn quickly and brightly

and die earliest.

and turn into neutron stars.

send out radio signals.

 
The spiral shapes we see in the sky are called .

 

 

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