Stars (Myths and Legends of the World)
Remote yet familiar, stars have fascinated people throughout history and are part of many myths and legends. Although the sun and the moon usually have the leading roles in mythology, often appearing as the stars also appear in many stories. In some cultures, the stars represent part of the cosmosthe universe, especially as an orderly and harmonious system, such as the heavens or the home of the gods, or a path between the earth and another world. In many myths and legends, individual stars or constellations, groups of stars, have special significance.
Explaining the Stars. People who lived before electric lights and air pollution dimmed the night skies saw the heavens glittering with thousands of stars. They developed various stories to explain their brilliant presence.
The Paiute of North America describe the stars as the children of the sun and moon. Because the sun loves to eat his children, the stars disappear whenever he rises above the horizon. However, the moon, their mother, often dances happily across the sky with the stars. To the Yakut of Siberia, the stars are crystal windows that allow the gods to look down at earth. The tent-dwelling Turko-Tatar people of Central Asia picture the sky as a large tent over the earth, with the stars as tiny holes in the tent.
The Milky Way, a dense band...
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Star (Encyclopedia of Science)
A star is a hot, roughly spherical ball of gas that shines as a result of nuclear fusion reactions in its core. Stars are one of the fundamental objects in the universe. Starsnd indeed the entire universere made mostly of hydrogen, the simplest and lightest element. By contrast, our bodies are composed of many complex elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, calcium, and iron. These elements are created in the cores of stars, and the final act in the lives of many stars is a massive explosion that distributes the elements it has created into the galaxy. Eventually these elements may form another star, or a planet, or life on that planet.
Stars are born in the interstellar medium, the region of space between stars. Drifting through this region are vast, dark clouds of gas and dust. Certain celestial events, like the nearby explosion of a massive star at the end of its life (supernova), cause these clouds to begin to contract. After a supernova, a shock wave sweeps through the interstellar medium. When it slams into the cloud, the gas and dust is violently compressed by the shock. As the particles are squeezed together, their mutual gravitational attraction grows and a blob of gas forms, giving off energy.
As the temperature in a contracting blob of gas becomes higher, the gas exerts a pressure that counteracts the inward force of gravity....
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Stars (Science Experiments)
A star is born
Tracking Stars: Where is Polaris?
Design Your Own Experiment
The first myth about the stars in the night sky probably came from the Chinese 5,000 years ago. They described stars as a heavenly river. The two brightest stars lived on either side of the river. They were known as Vega, a princess who wove beautiful clothes, and Altair, a herdsman. One night each year, a bridge of birds would span the river, allowing Vega and Altair to meet.
We now know that stars are not princesses, herdsmen, gods, or goddesses, but vast clumps of hydrogen gas and dust that exist in space millions of miles (kilometers) away. Scientists who study the positions, motions, and composition of stars, planets and other objects in space are known as .
Ancient people were intrigued by what we now call the . What was this band of light that stretched across the skies, they wondered. According to Greek legend, droplets of milk spilt upwards when Juno breastfed the infant Hercules. That's why this light became known as the Milky Way.
Democritus, a Greek philosopher, realized the truth in the fifth...
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