Ask Dr. Universe: Why do we need stars?

Dr. UniversePULLMAN, Wash. – If you are anything like me, you like watching the night sky. The stars we see are a lot like our nearest star, the sun. They are just much farther away. That makes stars look like small twinkly things instead of a big, furious thing like our sun.

We can’t make a star on Earth simply because it would be so large. That’s what I found out when I visited the planetarium here at Washington State University. I met up with my friend and astronomer Guy Worthey.

Even the smallest stars are pretty big compared to Earth, he said. Maybe you’ve heard of stars like Trappist-1 or Proxima Centauri. These stars are 10 times the size, or diameter, of earth. The sun is nearly 100 times larger. And the largest stars, hold on to your hat if you have one, are 150,000 times the diameter of earth, Worthey said.

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