Friday, August 29, 2008


A star is a massive, luminous ball of plasma. The nearest star to Earth is the sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth. Other stars are visible in the night sky, when they are not outshone by the Sun. For most of its life, a star shines because thermonuclear fusion in its core releases energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiates into outer space. Almost all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were created by fusion processes in stars.A star begins as a collapsing cloud of material composed primarily of hydrogen, along with helium and trace amounts of heavier elements. Once the stellar core is sufficiently dense, some of the hydrogen is steadily converted into helium through the process of nuclear fusion.
Historically, stars have been important to civilisation throughout the world. They have been used in religious practices and for celestial navigation and orientation. Many ancient astronomers believed that stars were permanently affixed to a heavenly sphere, and that they were immutable. By convention, astronomers grouped stars into constellations and used them to track the motions of the planet and the inferred position of the Sun.


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