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This text deals with …
1. Groups of stars.
2. Hot clouds of gas.
3. Moving to the west.
4. Giving out light.
5. Orbiting round stars.
6. The nearest star.
A. Over millions of years, hot clouds of gas called ‘nebulae’ grow until they explode and form huge, blazing balls of fire. This is how stars are born. Our own sun is a star. Eventually, like all stars, it will run out of fuel and die. Don ’t worry though — this won’t happen for another 5 billion years!
B. Stars are sources of light. This is the reason they shine so brightly in the sky. The moon, planets and comets also shine, but they don’t give out their own light. They just reflect it from the sun.
C. Stars are very, very far away. In fact, when their light reaches our eyes, we sometimes see them as they were thousands of years ago. Our sun is the nearest star to Earth, but it is still about 160 million km away! It is part of the Milky Way galaxy, a white band of stars that stretches across the night sky.
D. Constellations are groups of stars. If you draw lines between them (and use lots of imagination) they sometimes look like objects, animals or people. The ancient Greeks thought that Orion looked like a giant hunter with a sword attached to his belt.
E. As the earth moves around the sun, we see the constellations in different positions in the sky at different times of the year. In the same way, the whole sky seems to move towards the west as the earth rotates on its axis throughout the night.
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