Pondering the universe is one of the most human endeavors in life. The observable space around the solar system is full of millions of mysteries—almost as many as you’ll find gleaming in baby’s eyes. To set off the spark of wonder by teaching baby about the unknowable universe, you’ll be teaching them to find the wonder in the world they can know, too. A starry baby girl, boy, or gender-neutral name has the potential to rocket baby to the moon or to act on curiosity in the wondrous world around them all life long.
Fun Facts About Stars!
Though knowing everything about each star in the universe is impossible, there are some known facts that help humans qualify them. Stars are giant gaseous clumps of matter made mostly of hydrogen and helium. Along with those qualifying factors comes deeper tiers to specify exactly what kinds of masses they are, and, in fact, most stars are what’s known as “red dwarfs.” Red dwarfs are the smaller and cooler celestial bodies in the many galaxies and, as a result, the most common. To compare with the most famous star on Earth, red dwarfs weigh approximately 7.5–50% of the sun’s mass. This size contributes to their commonality and long life time; they are the definition of a slow burn, taking an estimated 100 billion years from start to finish of their Main Sequence lifetimes. So, if you think about it, your ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors’—and far further—were entranced by the same stars that brought you here today.
How many stars are there?
To try to quantify the stars is nearly impossible; there are galaxies upon galaxies in the universe and more unknowable corners to it than humans can rightly fathom. However, that doesn’t mean humans haven’t tried! The number of stars in the universe is the largest number you’ll likely ever come across at a whopping 200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000—no, really. This approximation can also be described as 200 sextillion or 200 billion trillion. While definitively unfathomable, the context of these 200 sextillion stars coming from the known 125 billion galaxies makes it feel a little closer to something humans can understand. However, these approximations come from only the observable universe, leaving a lot of space to be discovered.
How are stars born and how do they die?
Not quite as magical as one might guess, a star is born when gas clouds collapse. Due to gravity’s pressure and the range of sizes of gas clouds, star birth and death rates vary greatly. Upon collapsing, the gas turns into a protostar through the process of its new, hot core collecting more and more galactic particles—mostly more gas and dust. Depending on how lucrative this collection period is, a star will form in a range of “small” to “massive.” However, these gas clouds do not provide a 1:1 ratio; these pressurized gas clouds can actually be big enough break up into multiple stars. This process of burning its natural gases eventually comes to an end though, and once there is no more hydrogen left to fuel its growth, it begins to collapse once again. As this collapse occurs in bigger stars, so do explosions, known as supernovas. However, most become red giants and form the beautiful nebula we love to take pictures of.