By Heather Couper;Nigel Henbest

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The "twinkling" is caused by the continual shifting of our own atmosphere. Stars are huge balls of luminous gas, many of them far bigger and brighter than our Sun, although they all seem faint because they are so far away. The range in brightness we see among the stars is partly due to differences in size and temperature, and partly due to the fact that they lie at different dis- mi On a really clear, > Today, star positions are known so precisely that the astronauts on the Apollo 15 lunar mission were able to use them to map the Moon very accurately.

This outflow prevents any further collapse, while the surrounding dust shell is blown away. In some cases, billions of dust grains will have stuck together to form an encircling system of planets. The energy of a star The energy produced by fusion in a hydrogen bomb explosion would fuel a star only the smallest fraction of a second. for The energy generated inside a star's core by the same fusion process begins as powerful penetrating and gamma rays), and finally escapes into space as less harmful light and heat coming from the star's radiation (X rays photosphere.

The cinder of a star A Heavyweight Star A heavyweight star system The death of a greedy star Stars more than five times heavier than the Sun shine very fiercely (1). Sometimes they can use all their hydrogen m less than a million years. The core collapses and the star swells into a supergiant (2,3). Now intense pressure triggers helium fusion in the dense and the star has a new source of energy as helium nuclei combine to form carbon. But soon it runs out core, of helium. Once again, its core collapses and further fusion is triggered It can go on in this way until it has .

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