Issue - January 2007



January 2007
Editorial

Once again, a New Year is starting with plenty of hopes and ideas for 2007 making it even better than the last one.

We have a special commitment with organizations and people that look out for the welfare of other people...read more...

January 2007

Lights in the night sky

Susana Jiménez Vigabriel, Student of Linguistics - UMSS with the support of Kara Rayan and Stacey Hayes, Projects Abroad - Bolivia.
References
(1) www.ecodigital.com.ar/
(2) www.esa.int/

Every night, one of the things that I really like to do is look at the stars and contemplate their luminosity. I do not know why, but I can spend a long time just looking at them and, now, I have many questions. What is a star? How do the stars form? How long do they live? Why are the stars so luminous? What is a shooting star? And so on. With all these questions in my head I start to investigate. Here is what I have found.

What is a star?

For me, stars are luminous points in the sky, that shine, I think that they can change colours in the night sky. But if you are looking for an exact definition; "a star is a massive, compact body of plasma in outer space"(1). The stars can live attached to one and another in binary and multi-star systems. They consist of two or more stars that are gravitationally bound. But not all the stars live in this way, there are stars like the sun, that travel alone, because they separated from their stellar group.

How do the stars form?

"The formation of a star begins with a gravitational instability inside a molecular cloud, often triggred by shockwaves from a supernova (massive stellar explotions) or the collision of two galaxies". So, the stars begin their life thanks to an explosion or a crash between galaxies. It is the first time that I am happy listening about explosions and crashes.

How long do stars live?

I can not believe, how long a star can live. Many stars are between 1 billion and 10 billion years old, some stars may even be close to 13. 7 billon years old. That is amazing to me. Now, when a see a star, i will think of how much knowledge they have and could share with us...if only they could speak.

Why are the stars so luminous?

One of the things that I really love obout the stars, and I think you will agree with me, is its luminosity. In astronomy, luminosity is the amount of light and other forms of radiant energy, (a star radiates per unit of time). The luminosity of a star is determined by the radius and the surface temperature. So, I understand that a star is luminous according to its size and its temperature.

And, what about the shooting stars?

When I see a shooting star, I always put my hands in my pocket and I ask for a desire, but I do not know if it becomes real, because I always forget what I asked. Anyway, "shooting stars" are just little pieces of rock, some of them are like grain of sand, they are disseminated among the space and they move quickly. When these little grains of sand crash against terrestrial atmosphere, they start to burn and for this reason they emit light and provoke this luminous line that we call "shooting stars". Maybe you do not believe, but we can see around twelve shooting stars per hour, that is incredible! Then, every night, if we are patient, we can contemplate many fleeting stars.

Now, you know something about stars and so do I. But maybe you should look for more information, here there are two web pages that you can review and I will continue look at the stars.

My life in Taricaya
Despite having been in Cochabamba for over two weeks now I still find myself completely unaccustomed to the wonderfully peaceful nights sleep (without rude interruption by rat, opossum or cockroach), delicious food and presence of street lights and cars as opposed to fire flies and peccaries!?
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