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Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram

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Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram


The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram or, the H-R Diagram for short, is a graph which plots stars according to their temperature and absolute magnitude. This graph reveals a pattern, which in fact is quite interesting. The H-R Diagram is named for the two astronomers, Ejnar Hertzsprung and Henry Russell, who discovered this pattern of stars. These two astronomers independently discovered that comparing magnitudes and spectral class (color) of stars yielded a lot of information about them.

One key purpose of the H-R diagram is to show the relationship between temperature and absolute magnitude of stars. The type of temperature measurement used is Kelvin, where the zero point is equal to -273.16 C. On the H-R Diagram, the temperature of degrees Kelvin ranges from 3,000 to 30,000. The absolute magnitude of stars on the H-R Diagram ranges from +15 to -10. Absolute magnitude is how bright stars would appear if they were positioned at 32.6 light years away from earth. On this scale, the lower the number, the brighter the star. Thus, a start with an absolute magnitude of -10 would be much brighter than a star with an absolute magnitude of +15.

The two astronomers found many patterns after developing their graph. They found that 90% of stars graphed fell within a band that ran through the middle of the graph. These stars range from cool, dim, red stars at the lower right of the H-R Diagram to hot, bright, blue stars at the upper left corner of th...



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Submitted by: 4freeessays
Date Submitted: 04-14-2006
Category: Technology
Words: 511
Pages: 2.04