Look up in the sky at night and you’ll notice thousands of small lights. Some lights are bright, others are dim. Some look white or blue, while others look red or orange. Some of these lights aren’t stars, but aircraft, satellites or even planets. Many of them are stars though. For thousands of years, humans have watched the stars and wondered about them. Ancient people told stories about the stars.
Stars are giant balls of gas. Clouds of dust and gas swirl through the universe. Sometimes this dust and gas begins to collect in one area. As more dust and gas collect, the mass becomes heavy. It starts to swirl and becomes hot. When it gets really hot, it begins a process known as nuclear fusion. If this mass gets really big and hot, it becomes a star.
Fun Facts about Stars for Kids
- Very hot stars look white or blue. Cooler stars look red or orange.
- Scientists believe there are billions of galaxies in the universe and each galaxy has billions of stars. That’s a lot of stars.
- Stars live billions of years. During their life, they turn hydrogen into helium. As their energy runs out, they slowly cool. First, they expand and get rid of their outer layers. Then they shrink and turn white. These stars are called white dwarfs. Finally, their light goes out completely and they become black.
- Some stars go out will a brilliant explosion, called a supernova. Sometimes a supernova leaves a small, dense center behind called a black hole.
- People have used the North Star for centuries to guide them. Other stars move, but the North Star stays fixed in the sky.
- Dim: dull, hard to see
- Satellites: Manmade objects that orbit the earth or fly through space
- Galaxy: a system in space that has planets, stars, dust and gas
- Swirl: spin and turn
Learn More All About the Stars and How They Are Formed
Check out this video all about stars:
A video explanation about how stars form.
Question: What are the constellations?
Answer: Constellations are groups of stars that have been studied for centuries. The constellations might resemble animals or people and are often named after animals or Gods. Different cultures have different stories about the constellations.