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colored band produced when a beam of light passes through a prism

apparent magnitude

the brightness of a star when viewed from Earth

absolute magnitude

The actual brightness of a star

light year

the distance light travels in one year


the apparent change in position of an object when seen from different places

red giant

A large, reddish star late in its life cycle

white dwarf

a small, hot star near the end of its life; the leftover center of an old star

H-R diagram

classifies stars by temperature and absolute brightness

main sequence

the location on the H-R diagram where most stars lie


An enormous explosion of a giant star

neutron star

a star that has collapsed under its own gravity


a rapidly spinning neutron star that produces radio waves

black hole

an object whose gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape

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