Q:

Are all stars suns?

A:

Quick 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.

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Full Answer

In the early 1990s, astronomers discovered that there were planetary systems orbiting around other stars, essentially making them suns. While only a few were found at first, scientists now know that many such systems exist. These discovered planets are now referred to as exoplanets so that they aren't confused with the planets in this solar system.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How many stars are there?

    A:

    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.

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  • Q:

    What are stars made from?

    A:

    Stars are mostly made up of hydrogen and helium, with only trace amounts of heavier elements. A star is a massive incandescent ball of plasma held together by its own gravity. The principle process that occurs within a star is the conversion of hydrogen into helium.

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  • Q:

    How long do stars last?

    A:

    The life cycle of a star is related to its mass. A star the size of the sun has a life cycle of approximately 10 billion years. A star 10 times the size of the sun, however, burns fuel faster and can have a main phase of millions of years.

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  • Q:

    Why are stars so bright?

    A:

    Stars appear bright based on their distance from Earth and their stellar classification. The measurement used to indicate the brightness of a star as seen from Earth is called the apparent magnitude.

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