On a clear night in the Northern Hemisphere, cruising the interstate highways across the Great Plains of the U.S., or ambling the foredecks of the old car ferries that still run the channel between the U.K. and France, the naked eye can discern some 5,000 stars. For many, stars are vague, never-shifting points of light, merely part of a handsomely crafted celestial backdrop for terrestrial tourist destinations. Or, at most, in this age of global satellite navigational systems, stars remain a crude and outmoded direction-finding reference. Yet we are inextricably linked to the stars. The very ground on which we stand is a by-product of their formation. And so are we. If not for stars, there would be no planets, no plants, no animals, no glass and steel, no Internet, and no iron-enriched vitamins to help us make it through the day.
KeywordsBlack Hole Neutron Star White Dwarf Radio Telescope Supernova Remnant
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