Ch 34: Stars, Energy & Spectra

About This Chapter

Watch these lessons to review information on finding a star's size and distance from Earth. Get facts on a star's brightness, energy and chemical makeup and learn about the Doppler Effect.

Stars, Energy & Spectra - Chapter Summary

The lessons in this chapter will help you refresh your knowledge about the characteristics of stars and how they produce energy. Our expert instructors explain topics such as electron transitions, the spectral sequence and spectroscopy. You'll also study star brightness and how it relates to luminosity. Other lessons explore star spectra and temperature. After watching these videos, you'll have an understanding of topics including:

  • Determining a star's size, distance and temperature
  • Spectral lines
  • Chemical characteristics and brightness of stars
  • Kirchhoff's Laws
  • The Doppler Effect
  • How stars produce energy
  • Forces that keep stars in a stable equilibrium
  • The magnitude scale

These lessons average about five minutes in length, and you can watch them anytime via a computer, tablet or smartphone. Each contains a clickable timeline that makes it easy to access key terms and topics in the lessons.

13 Lessons in Chapter 34: Stars, Energy & Spectra
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
How to Find the Size of a Star

1. How to Find the Size of a Star

This lesson will tell you how astronomers figure out the size of stars. You'll learn it has to do with a star's temperature, luminosity, and a cool thing known as the H-R diagram.

Electron Transitions & Spectral Lines

2. Electron Transitions & Spectral Lines

This lesson discusses how electrons transition between energy levels, why they do this, how photons are involved, how absorption and emission spectra come into play, and what the Lyman, Balmer, and Paschen series are.

Measuring The Distance to a Star

3. Measuring The Distance to a Star

This lesson will tell you how astronomers can measure the distance to a star and how it relates to the way surveyors measure distances to landmarks right here on Earth.

The Brightness Of Stars

4. The Brightness Of Stars

This lesson will define and describe important terms related to a star's brightness, including luminosity, intrinsic brightness, apparent brightness, and more.

Relating a Star's Brightness to Luminosity

5. Relating a Star's Brightness to Luminosity

This lesson will explore how luminosity, apparent brightness, and distance are related to one another using the inverse square law. You'll also learn how luminosity can be gauged based on distance and apparent brightness.

Determining the Temperature of a Star

6. Determining the Temperature of a Star

This lesson will explain to you the concepts of a spectrum, electromagnetic radiation, the temperature of a faraway star and how that relates to something known as a blackbody curve and Wien's law.

Spectroscopy and the Chemical Characteristics of Stars

7. Spectroscopy and the Chemical Characteristics of Stars

This lesson will explain how astronomers find out the chemical composition of a distant star using spectral lines and spectroscopy, and how this relates to atoms, electrons, and photons.

Kirchhoff's Laws and Star Spectra

8. Kirchhoff's Laws and Star Spectra

This lesson will define for you three laws associated with spectra and how they relate to the composition of stars, as well as how they relate to atoms and wavelengths.

The Doppler Effect and Star Spectra

9. The Doppler Effect and Star Spectra

This lesson will outline what the Doppler effect is using a very familiar example, then parlay that knowledge into understanding how the Doppler effect is used in astronomy.

How Stars Generate Energy

10. How Stars Generate Energy

This lesson will tell you how the sun generates energy, energy that depends on much more than the superficial notion of nuclear fusion. We'll delve deeply into this process by exploring protons, positrons, gamma rays, and a whole lot more!

The Spectral Sequence and Temperature

11. The Spectral Sequence and Temperature

This lesson will talk about spectral classes, spectral types, and the spectral sequence. We will break down each spectral class and point out some important characteristics of each.

Forces Keeping Stars in a Stable Equilibrium

12. Forces Keeping Stars in a Stable Equilibrium

This lesson will outline for you the forces and properties that keep stars stable. They include temperature, pressure, gravity, density, and nuclear reactions.

Using the Magnitude Scale to Compare Star Brightness

13. Using the Magnitude Scale to Compare Star Brightness

This lesson will describe the magnitude scale, apparent brightness, and apparent visual magnitude. It will also teach you how to compare the brightness of stars.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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