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Galaxies and Stars The Physical Universe

Most widely recognized astronomical objects, and represent the most fundamental building
blocks of galaxies. The age, distribution, and composition of the stars in a galaxy trace the
history, dynamics, and evolution of that galaxy.
Responsible for the manufacture and distribution of heavy elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and
oxygen, and their characteristics are intimately tied to the characteristics of the planetary systems
that may coalesce about them.
The study of the birth, life, and death of stars is central to the field of astronomy.

Example: Terzan 5
Terzan 5, which hosts the T5X2 system, is a dense globular star cluster located 25,000 light-years
away toward the constellation Sagittarius. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA
Heavily obscured globular cluster belonging to the bulge (the central star concentration) of the
Milky Way galaxy. It was one of six globulars discovered by French astronomer Agop Terzan in
1968 and was initially labeled Terzan 11.
19,000 light-years away from Earth.

Classification of Stars - The Hertzsprung -Russell (H-R) Diagram

Developed independently in the early 1900s by Ejnar Hertzsprung and Henry Norris Russell, it
plots the temperature of stars against their luminosity (the theoretical HR diagram), or the colour
of stars (or spectral type) against their absolute magnitude (the observational HR diagram, also
known as a colour-magnitude diagram).
Depending on its initial mass, every star goes through specific evolutionary stages
dictated by its internal structure and how it produces energy. Each of these stages
corresponds to a change in the temperature and luminosity of the star, which can be seen
to move to different regions on the HR diagram as it evolves. This reveals the true power
of the HR diagram astronomers can know a stars internal structure and evolutionary
stage simply by determining its position in the diagram.
This diagram shows that there are 3 very different types of stars:
Most stars, including the sun, are "main sequence stars," fueled by nuclear fusion
converting hydrogen into helium. For these stars, the hotter they are, the brighter.
These stars are in the most stable part of their existence; this stage generally lasts
for about 5 billion years.
As stars begin to die, they become giants and supergiants (above the main
sequence). These stars have depleted their hydrogen supply and are very old. The
core contracts as the outer layers expand. These stars will eventually explode
(becoming a planetary nebula or supernova, depending on their mass) and then
become white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes (again depending on their
Smaller stars (like our Sun) eventually become faint white dwarfs (hot, white,
dim stars) that are below the main sequence. These hot, shrinking stars have
depleted their nuclear fuels and will eventually become cold, dark, black dwarfs.
Star Color Approx. Ave. Ave. Ave. Main
Type Surface Mass Radius Luminosity Characteristics
Temperature (The (The (The Sun =
Sun Sun = 1)
=1) 1)

O Blue Over 60 15 1,400,000 Singly ionized

25,000K helium lines (H
I) either in
emission or
Strong UV
B Blue 11,000- 18 7 20,000 Neutral helium
25,000K lines (H II) in
A Blue 7,500- 3.2 2.5 80 Hydrogen (H)
11,000K lines strongest
for A0 stars,
decreasing for
other As.
F Blue to 6,000-7,500K 1.7 1.3 6 Ca II
White absorption.
Metallic lines
G White 5,000-6,000K 1.1 1.1 1.2 Absorption
to lines of neutral
Yellow metallic atoms
and ions (e.g.
K Orange 3,500-5,000K 0.8 0.9 0.4 Metallic lines,
to Red some blue
M Red Under 0.3 0.4 0.04 (very Some
3,500K faint) molecular
bands of
titanium oxide.
What is a galaxy?
sprawling space systems composed of dust, gas, and countless stars. The number of galaxies
cannot be countedthe observable universe alone may contain 100 billion. Some of these distant
systems are similar to our own Milky Way galaxy, while others are quite different. Galaxies with
less than a billion stars are considered "small galaxies." In our own galaxy, the sun is just one of
about 100 billion stars.

Example: M33: Triangulum Galaxy

Taken by Robert Gendler, a professional astronomer from NASA, using the Subaru Telescope
Over 50, 000 in diameter, third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda
Galaxy (M31), and our own Milky Way.
About 3 million light-years from the Milky Way.

Types of Galaxies

Elliptical Galaxy
Shaped like a spheroid or elongated sphere
The light is smooth, with surface brightness decreasing as you go father out from the center.
No particular axis of rotation
Example: Galaxy ESO 325-G004
Spiral Galaxy
Most common type in the universe
Three main components: a bulge, disk, and halo
Bulge a spherical structure found in the center of the galaxy
Contains older stars
The disk is made up of dust, gas, and younger stars. The disk forms arm structures.
The halo is a loose, spherical structure located around the bulge and some of the disk.
Contains old clusters of stars called the globular clusters.
Example: Milkyway Galaxy

Irregular Galaxy
No regular or symmetrical structure
Divided into two groups:
IrrI have HII regions, which are regions f elemental hydrogen gas, and many Population
I stars, which are young stars.
IrrII large amounts of dust that block most of the light from the stars, making it almost
impossible to see distinct stars in the galaxy.
Example: UKS 14