Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram

I recently read an article that is titled, “Astronomers discover a white dwarf that acts like a pulsa”. I believe that this specific article directly correlates with our twelfth conceptual “I can explain how astronomers use the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram to study properties of stars“. This article begins by introducing that many astronomers are incredibly fascinated by pulsars because of their unique and exotic features. A pulsar is a type of neutron star that emits focused beams of radiation from its poles as it spins. But now, astronomers have discovered a pulsar that’s not a neutron star at all, but a white dwarf. After more than fifty years of intense searching of something in comparison to this object, the first white dwarf star was discovered. The two Professors that discovered this incredible phenomenon found out that the binary system AR Scorpii (AR Sco) contains a white dwarf acting as a pulsar. This also is located at about 380 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius. Inside the Ar Sco is a white dwarf and a red dwarf star. Both of these stars orbit each other about every 3.6 hours. The distance they do this is 1.4 million kilometers. This is three times the distance between our planet Earth and the moon! Therefore every two minutes when the white dwarf rotates around its axis, it blasts its’ companion with a beam of radiation that gets the electrons going into the red dwarf’s atmosphere. The particles are accelerated directly to the speed of light. This explains the why there is brightness change that can be seen from the naked our from planet Earth at exactly the same time of the white dwarf’s rotation.eso1627a.jpg

I really enjoyed this specific article because it truly gives a great representation of our twelfth conceptual objective. During our class lecture, we took descriptive notes that explained what the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram is and what is also included in it. We learned that the majority of the stars are classified in the Main Sequence, Next there are Giants, which are brighter and larger than most would think. This is not in the Main Sequence. In addition, there also is white dwarfs that are often cool and dim; while red dwarfs are warm and bright. On page 117 in our lecture-tutorial book, we practiced to learn the conceptual objective. I believe that this article was a perfect representation of our twelfth objective because it throughly went through all the material that we learned in class. I find it so interesting our much our Sun can be lower in size compared to some of the other stars in our solar system. Overall, I confidently believe that I thoroughly understand our twelfth conceptual objective, “I can explain how astronomers use the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram to study properties of stars”.



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