Chapter 18 The Stars: A Celestial Census
Collaborative Group Activities
- Two stars are seen close together in the sky, and your group is given the task of determining whether they are a visual binary or whether they just happen to be seen in nearly the same direction. You have access to a good observatory. Make a list of the types of measurements you would make to determine whether they orbit each other.
- Your group is given information about five main sequence stars that are among the brightest-appearing stars in the sky and yet are pretty far away. Where would these stars be on the H–R diagram and why? Next, your group is given information about five main-sequence stars that are typical of the stars closest to us. Where would these stars be on the H–R diagram and why?
- A very wealthy (but eccentric) alumnus of your college donates a lot of money for a fund that will help in the search for more brown dwarfs. Your group is the committee in charge of this fund. How would you spend the money? (Be as specific as you can, listing instruments and observing programs.)
- Use the internet to search for information about the stars with the largest known diameter. What star is considered the record holder (this changes as new measurements are made)? Read about some of the largest stars on the web. Can your group list some reasons why it might be hard to know which star is the largest?
- Use the internet to search for information about stars with the largest mass. What star is the current “mass champion” among stars? Try to research how the mass of one or more of the most massive stars was measured, and report to the group or the whole class.