Presentation on theme: "Understanding the Stars"— Presentation transcript:
1 Understanding the Stars How can we learn about the lives of stars, which last millions to billions of years?Consider the story of the EphemeraImage from:
2 How can we Study the Life Cycles of Stars? A star can live for millions to billions of years.we will never observe a particular star evolve from birth to deathThe key is that all stars were not born at the same time.the stars which we see today are at different stages in their liveswe observe only a brief moment in any one star’s lifeby studying large numbers of stars, we get a “snapshot” of one moment in the history of the stellar communitywe can draw conclusions just like we would with human census data…we do stellar demographics!
3 Classification of Stars Stars were originally classified based on:their brightnesstheir location in the skyThis classification is still reflected in the names of the brightest stars…those we can see with our eyes:Order of brightness within a constellationLatin Genitive of the constellation Orionis Geminorum
4 Classification of Stars The old classification scheme told us little about a star’s true (physical) nature.a star could be very bright because is was very close to us; not because it was truly brighttwo stars in the same constellation might not be close to each other; one could be much farther awayIn the 20th Century, astronomers developed a more appropriate classification system based on:a star’s luminositya star’s surface temperatureA star’s stage of life
5 Summer TriangleWhich of these three Stars in the Summer Triangle is the brightest (to the naked eye)Which is the most Luminous?Which of these three are the closest?
7 Don’t always trust your eyes! Note that Deneb is a bit larger than the other twoIts also a bit farther away—2250 light years!Vega is 22 light years away—its in the neighborhoodNote that Altair (about 30 lyrs) is probably flattened..its rotating very fast!Apparent brightness depends on size, temp, and distance!
8 Luminosity and Intensity Our goals for learning:What is luminosity and how do we determine it?How do we measure the distance to nearby stars?How does the magnitude of a star depend on its apparent brightness?
9 App Bright = L / 4d2 Luminosity of Stars Luminosity – the total amount of power radiated by a star into space.Apparent brightness refers to the amount of a star’s light which reaches us per unit area.the farther away a star is, the fainter it appears to ushow much fainter it gets obeys an inverse square lawits apparent brightness decreases as the (distance)2Apprent brightness is also known as the IntensityThe apparent brightness of a star depends on two things:How much light is it emitting: luminosity (L) [watts]How far away is it: distance (d) [meters]App Bright = L / 4d2
10 Apparent Brightness The Inverse Square Law for Light What Determines Apparent Brightness?
11 Measuring Distances to Stars parallax – apparent wobble of a star due to the Earth’s orbiting of the Sun
12 Measuring Distances to Stars p = parallax angled = 1 AU/ pGives distance inParsecs.convert p into arcsecd = 206,265 AU/ p
13 Measuring Distances to Stars let’s define1 parsec 206,265 A.U. = 3.26 light yearsd = 1 / pIf p is in arcsec and d is in parsecsA star with a parallax of 1 arcsec is 1 parsec distant
14 The Brightness of Stars Astronomers still use an ancient method for measuring stellar brightness which was proposed by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus (c. 190 – 120 B.C.)Magnitude ScaleThis scale runs backwards:The bigger the number, the fainter the starBrightest stars are #1, next brightest are #2, etc.
15 The Modern Magnitude System apparent magnitude= -2.5 log (app bright)brightness of a star as it appears from Eartheach step in magnitude is 2.5 times in brightnessabsolute magnitudethe apparent magnitude a star would have if it were 10 pc away
16 What good is this?If you know apparent brightness, you can find magnitude.If you know magnitude, you can use another relationship to find distanceM – m = 5 – 5log(d)M= Absolute magitudeM = m when distance is ten parsecs.
17 An example of how this works! Deneb has an apparent visual magnitude of1.26 (see chart of brightest stars at end of your text)Deneb has an Absolute visual magnitude of -8.73(this is about the same brightness as the quarter moon---but at 32.6 light years away!)Using the weird equation, the distance to deneb can be calculated: 2500 light years (M – m = 5 – 5log(d))One last obvious question: How did we ever know the Absolute visual magnitude to Deneb without knowing its distance in the first place?
18 16.3 Classifying Stars Hypothysis: the Luminoisty and Abolsute Magnitude of Stars can be known if we know their Classification.There Classification is completely revealed in their Spectra.Comparing the spectra of nearby stars allows us to test this hypothis.The Classification is known as Spectral Type
19 Spectral type is revealed in the Colors of Stars Stars come in many different colors.The color tells us the star’s temperature according to Wien’s Law.Bluer means hotter!
20 Spectral Type Classification System O B A F G K M(L)Oh Be A Fine Girl/Guy, Kiss Me!50,000 K ,000 KTemperature
23 Spectral Types of Stars Spectral types are defined by the:existence of absorption lines belonging to various elements, ions, & molecules in a star’s spectrumthe relative strengths of these lineHowever, spectral type is not determined by a star’s composition.all stars are made primarily of Hydrogen & HeliumSpectral type is determined by a star’s surface temperature.temperature dictates the energy states of electrons in atomstemperature dictates the types of ions or molecules which existthis, in turn, determines the number and relative strengths of absorption lines in the star’s spectrumthis fact was discovered by Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin in 1925
24 Spectroscopic parllax Summary:If we know distance (d) from parallax measurements and..If we know apparent visual magnitude (m) from photometry or image size (apparent brightness is also measured in this way).Then we can calculate Absolute visual magniutde (M). Luminosity is also measured in this way.We can obtain spectra and spectral type for all these nearby stars (about 10,000!)We can make a table that provides Absolute visual magnitude for stars given their spectral type.With this table, we can find the distance to distant stars simply by obtaining their spectra and apparent visual magnitude.In a strange way, we have extended the parallax measurements out way beyond the one hundred parsec limit!