What are stars made of?

Gigantic Masses

Stars are formed from gigantic masses of hot glowing gases.  Hydrogen and helium are the most common gases in a star.  In the clearest night sky you might see a few thousand stars with unaided eye.  Every bright star is a sun, like our own sun.

Scientists tell us that a star is a huge glowing ball of hot gases.  It is a kind of gigantic atomic furnace in which the temperature at the center may be as high as several million degrees.  Hydrogen and helium are the most common gases found in a star.  Although they are made up of gases, their centers are so dense and hot that the atoms of gas are constantly colliding and fusing together into new materials.

As the atoms unite, some of their atomic energy is given off  in the form of heat and light which stream away from the star in all directions.  This is why stars shine.  Scientists can find out all this by using instruments called spectroscopes.  With these instruments they can tell from the light a star gives what the star is made of and how hot it is. – Dick Rogers


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