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ASTR 203 - Stars

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Jim Martin
Main Library A403

Suggested star report structure

I. Writing the Abstract                                    

   The abstract goes at the beginning of your report, right after the title page, but it is the last section of your report which you will write. The abstract is the first thing someone will read after the title of the report. The purpose of the abstract is to summarize and advertise your report. The abstract must convince the reader to read the entire report.

   Look over your entire report. Revisit your analysis of the star and the arguments you have made to explain its nature. Based on what you have learned about all stars in this course, what makes your star stand out? Why is your star interesting? Why should anyone take the time to read your report? These are the questions which you must address in your abstract.


II. Write an Introduction

  Introduce your topic by bringing the reader into the story of your star.


III. Origin of Name and Constellation Myth or History         

     The star name will be one of four types:

            1. Proper

            2. Bayer

            3. Flamsteed

            4. Catalog

    Where did it come from?  If a proper name, from which language is it derived?  Proper names are sometimes connected to the story/myth behind the constellation in which the star resides.   Is it?  What is the story or myth behind the naming of the constellation?


IV. Properties of the Star                                               

    Use the SIMBAD database, Catalogue of Bright Stars, or other stellar database to compile the properties of your star. Stellar data is best presented in a report as a table. You may refer to the table when discussing your star’s properties in the text. The following properties should be included:

            1. coordinates: R.A. & Dec.                        5. spectral type & luminosity class

            2. distance and/or parallax angle              6. surface temperature

            3. proper motion                                           7. mass (if known)

            4. radial velocity                                           8. if binary: separation & period of orbit

How can you judge the accuracy of these properties? When conflicting values are found, which value do you choose? [Hint: Why is the year contained in the bibliography reference for the data very important?]


V. Life Cycle of the Star                                   

   Locate your star on the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) Diagram. What does your star’s location on the H-R Diagram tell you about where it is in its life cycle? How does your star generate energy, or does it? Describe the nuclear fusion reaction(s) responsible for energy generation. 

   Use this information, combined with mass, to determine how your star will die in the future. Or is your star already “dead”? Which stellar remnant will your star leave behind after its death? There are only three possibilities:

            1. white dwarf

            2. neutron star

            3. black hole


VI. Conclusion

Summarize all of the information which you have just presented and make some concluding remarks about your star.


VII. Reference List


VIII. Figures or Tables

Figures and tables go here unless they are embedded in the text.

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