Radius and Temperature of Main Sequence Stars

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Stars constantly struggle to balance gravity and pressure throughout their lives. Main sequence stars fuse hydrogen in their cores in order to maintain this balance. For a main sequence star with a chemical composition similar to the Sun, the relationship between radius and effective surface temperature (in Kelvin) can be modeled fairly easily.

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This Demonstration presents this simple case by imagining that the various spectral classes of stars, OBAFGKM, are laid out on a shiny table next to each other for comparison. If you change the temperature of a star, its color and radius (measured in terms of the Sun's radius, ) also change. The hottest stars, the O and B stars, are always blue. At the other end of the spectral class range, the color changes become more evident.

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Contributed by: Jeff Bryant (January 2008)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


Snapshots


Details

The relationship shown in this Demonstration is based on data from A. N. Cox, ed., Allen's Astrophysical Quantities, 4th ed., New York: AIP Press (Springer), 2000.



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