ExploraTour: A Peek into the Lives of the Stars

About 4 and a half billions years ago something interesting happened in an out-of-the-way part of the galaxy. The sun ignited at the center of a cloud of gas and dust. The rest, as they say, is history.

We now know that stars (the sun included) are born in dust clouds, redden and swell to many times their original size as they age, then end their lives in incredible explosions that leave the most bizarre objects in the universe behind.

They are the major engines for pumping out atoms heavier than hydrogen -- the stuff that makes up the Earth, its rocks, its oceans and its life forms -- even the two-legged variety reading this page.

How about that . . . you are from outer space after all!

Click ahead to find out more.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist, mineral and fossil specimens, and educational games!

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Starspots

In recent years astronomers have become able to detect "starspots" on distant stars! Like the sunspots that frequently dot the "surface" of the nearest star, our Sun, starspots are relatively cool, dark...more

The Oldest Light in the Universe

NASA scientists have taken a "snapshot" picture of the oldest light in the universe. The image shows the remains of light emitted during the big bang, which is now microwave energy. The light...more

Space Weather throughout the Solar System

The Sun is surrounded by a "bubble" in space called the heliosphere. In a sense, we Earthlings live within the outer atmosphere of our Sun. The solar wind fills the heliosphere with energetic...more

Atomic Physics & Particle Physics

Atoms and the minute particles from which they are made strongly influence the nature of many phenomena that play out their roles on astronomical scales. The fields of atomic physics and particle physics...more

The Sun's Magnetic Field

The Sun has a very large and very complex magnetic field. The magnetic field at an average place on the Sun is around 1 Gauss, about twice as strong as the average field on the surface of Earth (around...more

Element (Chemical Element)

An element (also called a "chemical element") is a substance made up entirely of atoms having the same atomic number; that is, all of the atoms have the same number of protons. Hydrogen, helium, oxygen,...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA