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Name: pamela dolgin
Status: N/A
Age: 5th Grade
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1993 - 1999


Question:
Dear Newton,

I am a fifth grader at Hollymead Elementary School. Is it true that the stars we see may already be burned out? And if you were up close to a star, would it be as bright as it is on earth?


Replies:
Well, there are all sorts of different stars in the sky, some of them much bigger and brighter than our sun (if we were as close to them as we are to our sun), and some of them much smaller and dimmer. The big bright ones are the ones that die first (usually in a big explosion). Since our galaxy is only about 100,000 light-years across, very few of the regular stars we can see would have blown up in the time it takes for their light to reach us. Even the short-lived ones live for millions of years. You would have to go to the next galaxy to start to see a significant fraction of stars that have died even though we still see their light. All this of course is assuming that our calculations about the life-times of stars are correct.

A Smith



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