Professor Gary Enns
Essay 2: Informative
October 10th, 2011
A Twinkle of Wonder
When we were kids we looked up for a streak of light to make a wish. These shooting stars granted a wish of a lifetime if you were fortunate enough to catch it twinkle for a split second. Standing there, imagining a star shooting in the heavens before me, I felt so large. As children we look at the world so innocently without knowing the truth. A special star would shoot for me one day I hoped. Years later, a shooting star still hasn’t flown thru the sky just for me and now I know why.
Who would have thought stars do not shoot? I sure didn’t. The life of a star begins millions of years in the past. The stars we see today are light years in the past, meaning we see them as they were years ago. A light year is a distance measurement of traveling light in one year (about 10 TRILLION kilometers) (Strobel 269). The amount of light years away a star is from the earth determines how old the light is from us. For example, the closest star to Earth is 4.2 light years away. This star, Alpha Centauri, is so far that the light reaching us is 4.2 years old. It took the light 4.2 years and almost 42 trillion kilometers to reach us on Earth! Most stars and constellations are more then 12 light years away.
Our beautiful Sun, is too, a massive star. Stars go thru regular cycles of life and death, just like everything in the universe. Our Sun, for example, will one day collapse itself in its natural cycle of life. Every star in the cosmos will one day stop producing light. Stars do not “shoot” in their time of death; Stars blow up. A streak of light in our nights view is beautiful and a star blowing up is hellish and dangerous. A star massive enough, upon explosion, can cause a black hole. For the many species on Earth, this is not a problem, considering the more massive stars are hundreds of light years away. This means if a massive star is turning into a black...