What my experience was This summer, while sitting outside on the porch looking up at the sky. I stopped to notice the stars. There had to be millions of them all looking like little specks in the sky. You could even see patterns that connected together. This got me to think about some things.
Questions that arose from the experience. Which star is closest to the Earth? How does a star form? Does gravity help hold the stars? How do you know which stars are where?
Connection with the Indicators 5.3.2 Observe and describe that stars are like the sun, some being smaller some being larger, but they are so far away that they look like points of light. 5.3.3 Observe the stars and identify stars that are unusually bright and those that have unusual colors, such as reddish or bluish. 5.3.7 Describe that, like all planets and stars, the Earth is approximately spherical in shape.
Which Star is the closest to Earth? The sun, at a distance of about 92 million miles, is the closest star to Earth. After the sun, the closest stars are the members of the triple star system known as Alpha Centauri (Alpha Centauri A, Alpha Centauri B, and Alpha Centauri C, sometimes called Proxima Centauri). They are 4.3 light-years away. (A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, about 5.9 trillion miles.) Sources: Flaste, Richard, ed. The New York Times Book of Science Literacy: What Everyone Needs to Know From Newton to Knuckleball,p. 19; Moore, Patrick. International Encyclopedia of Astronomy, p. 22. If the total output of the Sun was gathered for one second it would provide the U.S. with enough energy, at its current usage rate, for the next 9,000,000 years.
How does a star form? A star is born from three steps: a cloud of dust, molecular In order for it to become a potential star, the cloud needs to collapse and increase in density. The density must begin to decrease. The cloud must collapse. There are two common ways this can happen: it can either collide with another dense molecular cloud or it can be near enough to encounter the pressure caused by a giant supernova. Multiple stars can be produced at the same time as well. http://www.universetoday.com/guide-to-space/stars/how-does-a-star-form/
Does gravity help hold the stars in place? I found all types of large word answers that did not even seem to make sense to me. Gravity has a pushing and pulling effect is what I was able to commonly find. But as to why the answers seem to vary. Physics was the other area believed to be part of the reason. However, it does have to do with the weight of the dust and the distance it is away from the sun. I am looking further into this question.
How do you know which stars(Polaris) are where? You have to first look north to begin your star search. Stars have been noticed and idolized for centuries back to the Babylonian era. To some they are believed to have religious meanings. http://www.onr.navy.mil/focus/spacesciences/observingsky/constellations3.htm After clicking on above link you will be able to examine and have a better knowledge of where the major Polaris’ are and how to locate them!
Star Facts If the total output of the Sun was gathered for one second it would provide the U.S. with enough energy, at its current usage rate, for the next 9,000,000 years. (www.swpc.noaa.gov/primer/primer.html) There are currently more stars in the cosmos than any one person could ever count. Our galaxy alone contains about 400 billion. But it wasn't always this way.
References www.swpc.noaa.gov/primer/primer.html http://www.universetoday.com/guide-to-space/stars/how-does-a-star-form/ http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060717_mm_first_star.html http://www.onr.navy.mil/focus/spacesciences/observingsky/constellations3.htm (Interactive) Sources: Flaste, Richard, ed. The New York Times Book of Science Literacy: What Everyone Needs to Know From Newton to Knuckleball,p. 19; Moore, Patrick. International Encyclopedia of Astronomy, p. 22.