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Stellar Astronomy Unit 2
Key Terms and Matching Definitions
accretion disk
black hole
brown dwarf
Cepheid variable
Chandrasekhar limit
Doppler shift
General Theory of Relativity
giant molecular cloud (GMC)
gravitational lensing
gravitational waves
helium flash
Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagram
main sequence
neutron star
shell hydrogen burning
supermassive black hole
thermonuclear fusion
1. The process in which smaller atoms combine to form a large
atom. In the process, energy is released.
2. A disk of gas orbiting a star or black hole.
3. The most common element in the universe and the major
component of stars.
4. The bending of light from a distance star or galaxy by the
gravity of a closer star, galaxy or galaxy cluster.
5. Large black holes found at the center of most galaxies.
6. The oscillations of space caused the rapid movement of
matter, such as a supernova or orbiting black holes.
7. An object whose gravity is so strong that the escape speed
exceeds the speed of light.
8. A type of yellow supergiant pulsating star.
9. A starlike object that is not massive enough to ignite
hydrogen fusion in its core.
10. A plot of the luminosity (or absolute magnitude) of stars
versus their surface temp (or spectral type).
11. A very compact dense star composed almost entirely of
12. The force with which all matter attracts all other matter.
13. A large cloud of interstellar gas and dust in which temperatures are low enough and densities are high enough
for atoms to form into molecules. This is the birth place of new stars.
14. A rapidly rotating neutron star that emits a radio beam that sweeps by us many times a second.
15. The grouping of stars on a H-R diagram extending diagonally across the graph. Stars will spend most of their
lives on this diagonal.
16. A subatomic particle with no electric charge that is produced in the core of the Sun and trillions pass
through us undetected each second.
17. The nearly explosive beginning of helium fusion in the dense core of a solar-mass size red giant star.
18. A massive stellar explosion at the end of a large star’s life as a result of the core collapsing
19. Einstein’s theory of gravity which explains how matter warps spacetime.
20. The maximum mass of a white dwarf … around 1.4 solar masses.
21. The thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen in a shell surrounding the star’s core that occurs during the red giant
phase when helium and heavier elements are fusing in the core.
22. The apparent change in wavelength of light due to the relative motion between the source and the observer
along the line of sight.