The emission spectra of gases can be used to study stars because the absorption spectra of stars are the exact opposite of the emission spectra of the gases that compose the stars. When the light from a star is split into its component colors, it creates a continuous spectrum except for specific missing colors. These missing colors are the same ones emitted by heated gases in laboratory settings.Know More
Light from stars appears white and, when split, contains a large spectrum of colors. Individual gases, however, only emit certain wavelengths of light when heated, according to the way their electrons are configured. When atoms absorb heat, some of their electrons move to larger, more energetic orbitals. When the electrons move back into their resting orbital, they release light energy at particular frequencies.
Stars emit light and a much wider range of frequencies than just the heat emission spectra of their component gases. Any color that a light emits, however, it also absorbs. Thus, the light generated by other processes that matches the gases' emission spectra is actually absorbed by the gases around the star. This creates darker regions in the spectra of the star itself and indicates the gases that compose it.Learn More
Studying comets could provide scientists with information about the origin of the Solar System and answer the question of whether or not they brought water to early Earth. Scientists also believe that comets could carry organic molecules that serve as the basic building blocks of life.Full Answer >
The gases that surround a star or planet — called the object’s atmosphere — vary from one celestial object to the next. Many planets have complex atmospheres, but stars usually have simple ones. As with the Earth’s sun, the atmospheres of most stars are composed of hydrogen and helium. However, a few neutron stars with oxygen-rich atmospheres have been documented.Full Answer >
While the sun is a star, not all stars are considered suns. In order to be classified as a sun, any given star must have planets orbiting around it, and not all stars do. However, the sun is not the only star that has planets orbiting it.Full Answer >
The observable universe contains an estimated 6.8 x 10^24, or 6.8 septillion, stars. To reach this estimate, astronomers conducted an exhaustive inventory of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy, made reasonable inferences regarding the stars that cannot be seen from Earth and applied that model to the other galaxies within the universal horizon.Full Answer >