EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Stellar classification using a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, a graph that plots the absolute magnitude (luminosity relative to the Sun) of a star against its surface temperature. This shows most stars on the main sequence curve (decreasing from upper left to lower right). A new star's position on the sequence depends upon its mass: low mass stars are cool and red, medium mass stars are yellow and high mass stars are hot and blue. Giants and supergiants (upper right) are stars that have expanded and cooled while becoming brighter. White dwarfs (lower left) are stars that have contracted to become hotter but dimmer. AB Doradus C (lower right) is the one of the lowest mass stars found and is known as a brown dwarf.
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