Read full document

Stars Main Sequence

Page 1 of 3
Main Sequence Stars - Young Stars
Main sequence stars are the central band of stars on the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram. These stars' energy comes from nuclear fusion, as they convert Hydrogen to Helium. Most stars (about 90%) are Main Sequence Stars. For these stars, the hotter they are, the brighter they are. The sun is a typical Main Sequence star.

DWARF STARS
Dwarf stars are relatively small stars, up to 20 times larger than our sun and up to 20,000 times brighter. Our sun is a dwarf star.

YELLOW DWARF
Yellow dwarfs are small, main sequence stars. The Sun is a yellow dwarf.

RED DWARF
A red dwarf is a small, cool, very faint, main sequence star whose surface temperature is under about 4,000 K. Red dwarfs are the most common type of star. Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf.

Giant and Supergiant Stars - Old, Large Stars
RED GIANT
A red giant is a relatively old star whose diameter is about 100 times bigger than it was originally, and had become cooler (the surface temperature is under 6,500 K). They are frequently orange in color. Betelgeuse is a red giant. It is about 20 times as massive as the Sun about 14,000 times brighter than the Sun, and about 600 light-years from Earth.

BLUE GIANT
A blue giant is a huge, very hot, blue star. It is a post-main sequence star that burns helium.

SUPERGIANT
A supergiant is the largest known type of star; some are almost as large as our entire solar system. Betelgeuse and Rigel are supergiants. These stars are rare. When supergiants die they supernova and become black holes.

Faint, Virtually Dead Stars:
WHITE DWARF
A white dwarf is a small, very dense, hot star that is made mostly of carbon. These faint stars are what remains after a red giant star loses its outer layers. Their nuclear cores are depleted. They are about the size of the Earth (but tremendously heavier)! They will eventually lose their heat and become a cold, dark black dwarf. Our sun will someday turn into a white dwarf and...