The name of the first person to map the stars is unknown, although according to David Whitehouse, writing for the BBC, a map of Orion was found etched on a 32,000-year-old ivory tablet. Early star charts may also have been painted on cave walls at Lascaux.
A map of the Pleiades, along with representations of the phases of the Moon, has been found embossed on a bronze tablet, called the Nebra Star Disk, that is dated to approximately 1600 B.C.E., and is associated with the Unetice people of Bronze Age Germany, according to Wikipedia. The disk is the earliest portable map of the sky known to exist.Learn More
Stars balance energy released by thermonuclear fusion with gravity based on their massive size. Most stars fuse hydrogen into helium, releasing light and thermal energy. Stars hold together because the large amount of matter involved compresses the gas, forming a luminous sphere. This process is known as hydrostatic equilibrium.Full Answer >
Stars explode either due to gravitational collapse or runaway nuclear fusion. The core of a giant star can become so dense it collapses in on itself, releasing a tremendous amount of energy in one final explosion. Alternately, a white dwarf in a binary system may draw stellar material from its companion star, enough to overload it and create a runaway fusion reaction.Full Answer >
Scientists use a star's temperature to classify it into one of seven main groups referred to by the letters O, B, A, F, G, K and M, in descending order. Within those groups, stars receive a number classification based upon their temperature as compared to other stars within the same group. An additional classification denotes the luminosity of the star through a Roman numeral between I and VIII.Full Answer >
Stars on the main sequence that are the same size as the Sun begin as yellow stars and turn into red giants as their hydrogen fuel runs out. Other stars shrink or explode, depending on their size.Full Answer >