Sizing Up Stars

Lately, we’ve been noticing some great new videos that are covering some basic – yet hard-to-understand – concepts in astronomy. Here’s one we recently saw, featured on “Astronomy Picture of the Day,” that we thought was worth noting:

Scale screen shot

Star Size Comparisons (Click the image to launch the video at YouTube)

Credit & Copyright: morn1415 (YouTube)

It’s very difficult to get a handle on the scale of things in the Universe. We thought this video did a great job in showing the enormous differences in size across just one category of astronomical objects: stars (and planets for reference). In the past, we’ve released news about some of these objects like Saturn and Sirius. We always try to give estimates to the objects we are talking about, but sometimes it’s hard to also give information about their actual size.

This video obviously doesn’t cover the vast array of scales that we find in the Universe when it comes to even bigger objects like galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and ultimately the Universe itself. It does, however, demonstrate the range that we need to stretch our frames of reference even to understand “ordinary” cosmic objects like stars.

-Megan Watzke, CXC

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