Stars: the Hertzsprung
Transcript Stars: the Hertzsprung
Classifying stars: H-R diagram
Evolution on the HR diagram
• We now have two properties of stars
that we can measure:
– Color/surface temperature
• Using these two characteristics has
proved extraordinarily effective in
understanding the properties of stars –
the Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagram
• Originally, the HR diagram was made by
plotting absolute magnitude versus
• But, it’s better to think of the HR
diagram in terms of physical quantities:
luminosity and surface temperature
If we plot lots of stars on the HR
diagram, they fall into groups
These groups indicate types of stars,
or stages in the evolution of stars
Luminosity of a ‘Black Body’ Radiator
For the spherical object, the total power radiated
= the total luminosity is:
T = temperature
= Stephan-Boltzman constant
= 5.6710-8 W/m2 ·K4
R = radius
Sizes of Stars on an HR Diagram
• We can calculate R from
L and T.
• Main sequence stars are
found in a band from the
upper left to the lower
• Giant and supergiant
stars are found in the
upper right corner.
• Tiny white dwarf stars
are found in the lower left
corner of the HR
Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram
• Main sequence stars
– Stable stars found on a
line from the upper left to
the lower right.
– Hotter is brighter
– Cooler is dimmer
• Red giant stars
– Upper right hand corner
(big, bright, and cool)
• White dwarf stars
– Lower left hand corner
(small, dim, and hot)
Class Ia,b : Supergiant
Class II: Bright giant
Class III: Giant
Class IV: Sub-giant
Class V: Dwarf
The Sun is a G2 V star
Measuring a star’s distance by
inferring its absolute magnitude (M)
from the HR diagram
If a star is on the main-sequence, there is a
definite relationship between spectral type
and absolute magnitude. Therefore, one can
determine absolute magnitude by observing
the spectral type M.
Observe the apparent magnitude m.
With m and M, calculate distance
Take spectrum of star, find it is F2V, absolute
magnitude is then M = +4.0.
Observe star brightness, find apparent
magnitude m = 9.5.
m M 5 log 10 D 5 D 10(5.55) / 5 pc 126 pc
“Vogt-Russell” theorem for
spheres of water
• Spheres of water have several properties:
mass, volume, radius, surface area …
• We can make a “Vogt-Russell” theorem for
balls of water that says that all of the other
properties of a ball of water are determined
by just the mass and even write down
mass/(density of water).
• The basic idea is that there is only one way
to make a sphere of water with a given mass.
• The idea of the “Vogt-Russell” theorem for
stars is that there is only one way to make a
star with a given mass and chemical
composition – if we start with a just formed
protostar of a given mass and chemical
composition, we can calculate how that star
will evolve over its entire life.
• This is extremely useful because it greatly
simplifies the study of stars and is the basic
reason why the HR diagram is useful.
Mass - Luminosity
relation for mainsequence stars
Mass-Luminosity relation on
the main sequence
• The lifetime of a star (on the main sequence) is
longer if more fuel is available and shorter if that
fuel is burned more rapidly
• The available fuel is (roughly) proportional to the
mass of the star
• From the previous, we known that luminosity is
much higher for higher masses
• We conclude that higher mass star live shorter lives
A ten solar mass star has about ten times the
sun's supply of nuclear energy. Its luminosity is
3000 times that of the sun. How does the
lifetime of the star compare with that of the
10 times as long
1/300 as long
1/3000 as long
L 3000 300
Mass/mass of Sun
Evolution of stars
• We have been focusing on the properties of
stars on the main sequence, but the chemical
composition of stars change with time as the
star burns hydrogen into helium.
• This causes the other properties to change
with time and we can track these changes via
motion of the star in the HR diagram.
HW diagram for people
• The Height-Weight diagram was for one
person who we followed over their entire life.
• How could we study the height-weight
evolution of people if we had to acquire all of
the data from people living right now (no
questions about the past)?
• We could fill in a single HW diagram using lots of
different people. We should see a similar path.
• We can also estimate how long people spend on
particular parts of the path by how many people we
find on each part of the path.
• Is the main sequence lifetime of a massive
star longer or shorter than that of a less
• Which is cooler, a star with spectral type G2
or a star with spectral type A6?
• An F5 star has an apparent magnitude of 7.
How far away is it?