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FutureStarrLela Star age
Lela Star is a freelance writer from Philadelphia, PA. She has been writing since childhood, and, more recently, has been transitioning from a more traditional distance writing career to a more intimate writing career of writing for others through social media platforms.
Historically, stars have been important to civilizations throughout the world. They have been part of religious practices, used for celestial navigation and orientation, to mark the passage of seasons, and to define calendars.
Many of the constellations and star names in use today derive from Greek astronomy.
Early astronomers recognized a difference between "fixed stars", whose position on the celestial sphere does not change, and "wandering stars" (planets), which move noticeably relative to the fixed stars over days or weeks.
Stars are born within the clouds of dust and scattered throughout most galaxies. A familiar example of such as a dust cloud is the Orion Nebula. Turbulence deep within these clouds gives rise to knots with sufficient mass that the gas and dust can begin to collapse under its own gravitational attraction. As the cloud collapses, the material at the center begins to heat up. Known as a protostar, it is this hot core at the heart of the collapsing cloud that will one day become a star. Three-dimensional computer models of star formation predict that the spinning clouds of collapsing gas and dust may break up into two or three blobs; this would explain why the majority the stars in the Milky Way are paired or in groups of multiple stars. (Source: science.nasa.gov)
If a white dwarf forms in a binary or multiple star system, it may experience a more eventful demise as a nova. Nova is Latin for "new" - novae were once thought to be new stars. Today, we understand that they are in fact, very old stars - white dwarfs. If a white dwarf is close enough to a companion star, its gravity may drag matter - mostly hydrogen - from the outer layers of that star onto itself, building up its surface layer. When enough hydrogen has accumulated on the surface, a burst of nuclear fusion occurs, causing the white dwarf to brighten substantially and expel the remaining material. Within a few days, the glow subsides and the cycle starts again. Sometimes, particularly massive white dwarfs (those near the 1.4 solar mass limit mentioned above) may accrete so much mass in the manner that they collapse and explode completely, becoming what is known as a supernova. (Source: science.nasa.gov)