What is a Star Made of?

Every bright star is a sun, like our own sun. This means that stars are huge globes of glowing gas. They are so ho that if a piece of steel were placed there, it would disappear in a puff of gas! In many of the stars, the gases are very thin. This is because the particles or atoms, of a matter in the gas are so far apart.

But the stars do have matter in them. We knows, as examples, that the sun contains more than 60 of the chemical elements present in the earth. Among the elements in the sun are hydrogen, helium, iron, calcium, and magnesium. In cooler stars, the matter may be more nearly liquid, somewhat like the boiling iron in a blast furnace.

In some very old and cold stars, the matter may be so densely packed that a cubic inch of it would weight a ton. Such stars are called "dead" or "dark" stars. Astronomers can find out all this by using instruments called "spectroscopes". The spectroscope studies the light stars, white, blue, yellow, or red, indicate what chemical elements are present in them.

Different temperatures of stars also cause differences in the light they give, in their "spectrum". In this way the temperature of a star can be determined.

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