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Astronomy science fair project:
Investigate the sun, stars, black holes and supernovas

Science Fair Project Information
Title: Investigate the sun, stars, black holes and supernovas.
Subject: Astronomy
Grade level: Elementary school - grades 4-6
Project Type: Descriptive
Cost: Low
Awards: None
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2004/maki4k0/public_html/
Short Background

Stellar evolution is the process by which a star undergoes a sequence of radical changes during its lifetime. Depending on the mass of the star, this lifetime ranges from only few millions of years (for the most massive) to trillions of years (for the less massive), considerably more than the age of the universe.

The Sun (Latin: Sol) is the star at the center of the Solar System. The Earth and other matter (including other planets, asteroids, meteoroids, comets, and dust) orbit the Sun, which by itself accounts for about 99.8% of the Solar System's mass. Energy from the Sun, in the form of sunlight, supports almost all life on Earth via photosynthesis, and drives the Earth's climate and weather.

A star is a massive, luminous ball of plasma. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on Earth. Other stars are visible in the night sky, when they are not outshone by the Sun. For most of its life, a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion in its core releasing energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiates into outer space. Almost all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were created by fusion processes in stars.

A black hole is a theoretical region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, not even electromagnetic radiation (e.g. visible light), can escape its pull after having fallen past its event horizon. The term derives from the fact that the absorption of visible light renders the hole's interior invisible, and indistinguishable from the black space around it.

A supernova (plural: supernovae or supernovas) is a stellar explosion. They are extremely luminous and cause a burst of radiation that often briefly outshines an entire galaxy before fading from view over several weeks or months. During this short interval, a supernova can radiate as much energy as the Sun could emit over its life span. The explosion expels much or all of a star's material at a velocity of up to a tenth the speed of light, driving a shock wave into the surrounding interstellar medium. This shock wave sweeps up an expanding shell of gas and dust called a supernova remnant.

See also: The Sun, Stars, Supernova, Black Holes

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

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