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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. Starting in 2010, Karl has been TechMediaNetwork's infographics specialist across all editorial properties.  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. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Karl on Google+.