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How to Tell Star Types Apart (Infographic)

Chart of star types.
Astronomers group stars into classes according to spectral color and brightness. (Image credit: by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

Stars come in different types, and most stars will change types throughout their lifetimes. Stars are often organized using what's known as the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram.  

Stars like Earth’s sun that burn hydrogen into helium are in a group called the "main-sequence."

 

The sun is currently a type G, yellow, main-sequence star. In the future, the sun will run out of hydrogen, leave the main-sequence, and become a red giant. After it explodes into a nova, the sun will become a tiny white-dwarf star, surrounded by a planetary nebula.

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Karl Tate

Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.