The Lives of Stars: Links

Colour, Luminosity and Radiation

  • Cosmic Reference Guides - Luminosity and Magnitude is part NASA's Cool Cosmos site. It gives a simple, clear definition and discussion on each of these concepts.
  • Distances is a page that discusses the distance to stars and relates this to their brightness. It has a useful diagram showing the relative brightness and distance of the stars in Crux and the Pointers. It is part of an excellent Australian educational site Astronomy on the Net that also includes monthly sky charts.
  • How the Stellar Magnitude Scale Works gives a simple, clear explanation of the scale for the general public.
  • NSO Astronomy: The Magnitude System is a concise page from the British National Schools Observatory explaining the magnitude system for school students.
  • Planck curve is an effective one-page article with a diagram explaining the concept of black body radiation.
  • Stellar Magnitudes provides a simple discussion of magnitudes before suggesting how you can visually determine the magnitude of satellites by comparing them to specific stars. It provides a finder chart with magnitudes for Crux. Also discusses use of binoculars.
  • Stellar Spectra is part of Gene Smith's Astronomy Tutorial from University of California, San Diego. The concise explanations are supported by clear and effective diagrams. You can follow links to explanations about thermal radiation and blackbodies.
  • What color are the stars? is an unusual page that provides pixel rgb values that allow you to accurately portray the colour of the different spectral classes and many specific stars on your computer monitor. It also has useful links and discussion.
  • What colour is the Sun? discusses the colour if the Sun and relates it to colour theory. A technical page.

Stellar Evolution & Nucleosynthesis

  • An Introduction to Pulsars is another section of this ATNF Outreach site that provides a clear description of pulsars, their discovery, properties and ongoing research. Links to further information are also given.
  • APOD Index has categories on the different types of stars, clusters and galaxies with useful descriptions from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site.
  • Astronomy HyperTextBook: Fusion Sequences in Stars provides a series of narrated animations showing the main nucleosynthesis processes in stars.
  • Origins: Star Formation provides a concise account in general terms of how the first stars formed then how stars such as our Sun form. Part of NASA's Origin site.
  • Skyserver - The Hertzsprung Russell Diagram is an excellent section of the SDSS Skyserver education site dealing with the HR diagram. It tackles all the required concepts including bright stars, clusters, age and evolution. Well written with logical development of concepts.
  • Star Clusters provides a clear explanation of the types of clusters, their properties and how to determine cluster ages. There is an effective animation illustrating the evolution of stars off the main sequence on an HR diagram. It also discusses pulsating variable stars.
  • Star Formation, Life, and Death provides a concise, illustrated overview of the key stages in the lives of stars.
  • Stellar Energy Sources and the Solar Neutrino Problem, provides detailed descriptions of the different fusion processes inside stars. Part of an online lecture series of notes on astrophysics.
  • Stellar Evolution and Death provides a useful set of pages describing in summary form, the key stages in the life and death of stars. It is part of NASA's Observatorium site.
  • Supernova is part of NASA's HEASARC website that provides images and animations of supernovae, pulsars and black holes. There are extensive links to many aspects of high-energy astrophysics.
  • Supernovae, part of NASA's Imagine the Universe education site has a concise, clear explanation of the types of supernovae, their causes and what happens to the ejected material and the remnant core.
  • The boisterous life of stars is a set of pages describing the stages in the life of a star. It has several pages pages focusing on black holes and neutron stars. Lots of useful diagrams.
  • The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram is a concise page from UC San Diego explaining the key concepts in the HR diagram.
  • The INFRARED UNIVERSE - Star Formation, part of NASA's IPAC site provides a concise, well illustrated account of how stars form. Most of the images show the role of infrared astronomy in unlocking the secrets of starbirth.
  • The Life and Times of Stars is a useful, illustrated pdf document summarising stellar evolution. Aimed at non-science US university students.
  • The Natures of the Stars is a useful one-page overview of key features of stars and their properties by James Kaler.
  • When supernovae go hyper: A mystery surrounds an exploding star describes the story behind the discovery of the first hypernovae and its linkage with GRBs.

Catalogs & Sources of Star Data

Applets, Activities and Software

  • Blackbody is a Shockwave applet that opens in your browser. By altering the temperature of the object you see the change in the shape and peak intensity of its Planck curve, the colour of the object and more. You can run this applet or online or download it to run on your own computer. It is part of an excellent series of physics and mathematics applets from PhET - Physics Education Technology and the University of Colorado. Visit the homepage to download this an other applets.
  • BlackBody Physlet is an effective Java applet that allows you to see the Planck curve and colour for stars of different temperatures.
  • black body Radiation Exercises: Planck Law Radiation Distributions is a Java applet that allows you to plot up to 10 Planck curves for temperatures from 3,000 to 30,000 K and compare them. It was used to produce some of the images used in this site. It also has links to applets for Wien's Law and black body: The Game where you have to try and determine the temperature of an unknown object to match a given Planck curve.
  • Color and Stellar Temperature is an effective applet that allows you to compare the black body curves for two stars of different temperatures and determine their colours. You can add waveband filters and explore the infrared and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum as well as the visible.
  • Cluster Color-Magnitude Diagrams and the Age of Stars provides colour indices and magnitude data for the Pleiades and 47 Tuc, a globular cluster so that you can plot colour-magnitude diagrams and determine cluster ages.
  • Friends With the Universe distance and luminosity modules. There are three excellent activities available for download as zipped Word documents from the South African Astronomical Observatory's educational site. They are written by Case Rijsdijk, SAAO and use the inverse square relationship. To download, visit the site then click on modules 5, 7 & 8: The Inverse Square Law, Calculating the Power of the Sun and How far is that star?
  • HR Applet (© McGraw Hill) is an online applet showing stellar evolution on the HR diagram. You can specify a star's parameters and watch it evolve. An evolutionary track is plotted. The site has accompanying explanations and background information.
  • HR Diagram is an exercise that you can print out. It provides background theory and tables of bright and nearby stars for you to plot on the accompanying HR plot and frequency plot.
  • HR Diagram Simulator allows you to place 1, 10 or 100 stars on the main sequence then compare their evolution off the main sequence either in steps or as a movie. Useful for demonstrating the concept of ZAMS.
  • IMSA Astrophysics: Stellar Spectra and Planck black body Radiation is an excellent resource with detailed theory, clear diagrams and an Excel spreadsheet where you can model Planck curves and analyse data.
  • Jewels of the Night is an excellent and effective activity that you can download and printout. Students have to classify stars in this open cluster according to colour and magnitude. Has full instructions, worksheets, teacher guide and links.
  • Life Cycles of Stars (Grades 9-12), part of NASA's Imagine the Universe site, allows you to download a pdf booklet with a number of activities related to stellar evolution.
  • Properties of Stars allows to examine the properties of several stars using a virtual observatory then explore some of the evolutionary stages. An excellent activity with high quality graphics and pedagogy from University of New Mexico.
  • Star Brightness Worksheet and Info is a simple page that can be printed out with a set of questions and data for students.
  • Star Clusters is another detailed activity from University of New Mexico where you find the distance to star clusters then use them to explore stellar evolution and the ages of stars. Excellent graphics and development of concepts. Useful for understanding the concept of ZAMS and spectroscopic parallax.
  • Stellar Evolution Applet , from Victoria University in Canada allows you to compare evolutionary tracks off the main sequence for stars of different masses and metallicities.
  • Stellar Evolution Simulation from Cornell allows you to alter the mass of a star and see how this affects its evolutionary track from the main sequence onwards. The results are plotted on a luminosity/temperature HR diagram in time steps with representations of star size. It comes with a useful set of instructions. Highly recommended.
  • Stellar Evolutionary Tracks is another Java applet.
  • Stellar Magnitudes Applet is a simple applet designed for secondary students that relates the brightness of different stars to a varying number of light bulbs. It provides a link to a clear set of pages discussing properties of stars.
  • Stellar Parameters is an excellent tool, part of the ClassAction Interactive Materials for Introductory Astronomy at the University of Nebraska. Click on the link to the Stellar Parameters page to run the module from the web or download a zipped version to run on your own computer. The module uses Flash simulations to investigate the distance modulus, stellar velocity, parallax, spectroscopic parallax, luminosity, flux and the HR Diagram. It also contains a quiz, images, tables and an outline of each concept. You can also download an Instructors manual. An excellent resource.
  • The Inverse Square Law is a Java applet that simulates photometer readings at varying distances form light bulbs and stars. You can produce flux vs distance plots for each situation.
  • Thermal Radiation Curves Applet allows you to specify a temperature or a peak wavelength for a star and view the corresponding Planck curve with a simulated visible spectrum superimposed on it.