DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Star, artwork. The Milky Way galaxy, a collection of billions of stars, is the bright band running across the background. A star is a huge ball of hydrogen gas, ionised into a plasma by the immense temperatures that are generated by nuclear fusion at its core. This fusion is ignited by the immense pressure generated by the star's mass. The Sun is a medium-sized star. Planets are made of the heavier elements formed from nuclear fusion in the largest stars. Stars form when clouds of gas and dust undergo gravitational collapse. Most stars will shine for billions of years.
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