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Characteristics of Stars
Use pages 793-799 in the textbook to find the answers to the questions below. Use the
back of this page or a separate pieced of binder paper if you need more room.
1. How long would it take to travel to the Sun at light speed? How long would it take to
travel to the nearest star if you could travel at light speed? What is a galaxy? What is the
name of the galaxy we live in? How many stars are in a galaxy? How long would it take
to travel to the center of our galaxy at light speed? How long would it take to travel to
the Andromeda galaxy? How many galaxies are there in the Universe? What is the
Universe? What is most of the Universe?
2. What is an astronomical unit? How far is it in km? How far is it in miles? What is a
light year? How far is it in km? How far it in miles (1 mile = 0.66 km)?
3. What is parallax? What do astronomers measure by using parallax? What is the
greatest distance that astronomers can use to measure the distances to stars using the
parallax method?
4. In relation to the brightness of other stars how bright is the Sun? What are the three
characteristics astronomers use to classify stars?
5. What size is the Sun compared to other stars? What are very large stars called? How
far would the supergiant Betelgeuse reach if it were to replace our Sun? How big are
white dwarf stars? How big are neutron stars?
6. What does a star’s color reveal? What color does a toaster glow? What color does the
wire in a light bulb glow? Which color is hotter? Is Betelgeuse a cool or hot star? What
color is Betelgeuse? What color is Rigel? Is Rigel a hot or cold star?
7. The brightness of a star depends on what two characteristics? What is a star’s
apparent magnitude? What is absolute magnitude? What two things does an astronomer
have to find before they can determine the absolute magnitude of a star? Why do
astronomers use globular clusters to compare the brightness of stars?
8. What two characteristics of stars does the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram relate to each
other? What is the main sequence? More than 90% of all stars are what? Is the Sun a
main sequence star? Where are the giant stars on the main sequence? Where are white