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Astronomy - Planets, Stars and the Cosmos by Heather Couper;Nigel Henbest

By Heather Couper;Nigel Henbest

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Dark clouds of dust and gas, destined to collapse into stars, line the inner rims of the arms. These block the view of astronomers and so we can only see a small portion of our own Galaxy. Although most of the stars in the Galaxy are found in the central bulge and spiral arms, there is a huge spherical zone around our Galaxy - the halo - in which many very old stars are spread out thinly. Some of these are concentrated into about 120 globular clusters, each made up of hundreds of thousands of stars.

For a brief period, a supernova shines billions of times brighter than an ordinary star. found at the outer edges of a galaxy. A dying star which has run out of fuel. Most stars reach this stage after a brief spell as a red giant. White dwarf The force of attraction that acts between two objects. The more massive an object is, and the closer it is, the greater is Gravity gravitational force. its Index Ganymede Alpha Centauri 28 Andromeda Galaxy 36 Apollo astronauts asteroids gravity 14, 15, 26 18.

The range in brightness we see among the stars is partly due to differences in size and temperature, and partly due to the fact that they lie at different dis- mi On a really clear, > Today, star positions are known so precisely that the astronauts on the Apollo 15 lunar mission were able to use them to map the Moon very accurately. Here the Command and Service tances from us. The ancient astronomers' gave names to the brightest stars and made maps of the sky by joining up the stars in imaginary patterns called constellations.

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