Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Why Are There Stars?
Name: Sharalyn
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: NV
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
Why do we have stars in are universe?


Replies:
Sharalyn,

Stars (and our Sun) are the result of matter being attracted to each other. Imagine that in the early history of the universe, there were just atoms. Since space is essentially frictionless, these atoms move around freely. Now some atoms might come into contact with each other and they might stick because electromagnetic forces tend to allow atoms to stick to each other. If enough of these atoms adhere to each other, then they will develop enough mass to have a measurable gravity. The gravitational forces are very long ranged so that clump of atoms will now start attracting other clumps of atoms until a big mass is developed. If the mass is mostly gaseous hydrogen and helium (the very first atoms) and the mass gets big enough, the gravitational force of all that mass going inward will start the nuclear reaction that causes stars to emit heat and light. You can imagine that this can happen anywhere in the universe where there are lots of these gases clumping together. And so we see stars.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius)


Dear Sharalyn,

We have stars because that is the most natural way or galaxies and the universe to be. Matter gets formed and immediately tries to galvanize in the simplest way possible. So with the help of gravity, matter (hydrogen at first) gathers together and is held together by gravity to form stars.

David Levy



Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory