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Composition of Stars (Spectroscopes)

1. Spectroscopes are used to determine composition of stars
a. each glowing element displays unique "fingerprint" when viewed through a spectroscope
b. scientists determine composition of stars by matching star's fingerprint to fingerprint of known elements

Composition of Stars (Elements)

1. Most common elements in stars are hydrogen (h) and helium (he)
a. H is lightest element in the universe
b. He is second lightest element
c. H and He account for about 96-99% of a star's mass

2. Other elements commonly found in stars are oxygen (O), neon (Ne), carbon (C), and nitrogen (N).

Surface Temperature of Stars (colors)

1. Color of a star is an indicator of how hot the surface of the star is.
a. surface of our yellow sun is about 6,000 degrees celsius
b. surface of hottest (blue-white) stars is about 50,000 degrees celsius
c. surface of the coolest (red) stars is about 3,000 degress celsius

2. The core of a star is much hotter than the surface. The core of our sun is about 15,000,000 degrees celsius

blue/blue-white stars

35,000 degrees celsius


6,000 degrees celsius


10,000 degrees celsius


3,000 degrees celsius


5,000 degrees celsius

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