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The programme looks at the methods used by astronomers to build up their knowledge of the structure and evolution of stars.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: S271, Discovering physics
Item code: S271; 01
First transmission date: 17-02-1982
Published: 1982
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:23:34
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Producer: John Stratford
Contributors: Alan Cooper; Keith Hodgkinson
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Dust cloud; Hertsmonceux; Hertzprung-Russell; Refracting; Royal Greenwich Observatory; Solar Observatory; Spectograph; Spectral curve; Supernova; Telescope
Footage description: Keith Hodgkinson, outside the Royal Greenwich Observatory, introduces the programme. Alan Cooper looks at some photographic plates of stars and explains what can be learned about a star's absolute luminosity. Cooper goes on to explain how the colour of stars is determined and what can be deduced about a star's temperature from the spectrum. Shots of the night sky as he talks. Keith Hodgkinson joins in. Shots of the sun's spectrum and the results of a spectrum analysis is plotted graphically. The curve for the sun is compared with that of Rigel and Betelgeuse. Hodgkinson goes on to point out that some very interesting patterns have come to light as a result of a correlation of absolute luminosity with temperature of stars. Alan Cooper uses the Starlink computer system to plot data for the 90 stars nearest to earth. A definite pattern emerges in the form of a temperature luminosity curve. Cooper classifies the stars on this curve as main sequence stars. Keith Hodgkinson explains what features of the above stars lead to the correlation obtained. Alan Cooper joins in. Shots of the Starlink computer VDU. Keith Hodgkinson, with the aid of an animated diagram of a collapsing gas cloud, explains how new stars are created and become main sequence stars. Alan Cooper, again using the Starlink computer, displays a pattern which correlates temperature luminosity and mass of the 100 brightest stars visible to us. He points out that a great number lie outside the main sequence curve. Alan Cooper, with the aid of animated diagrams, explains the reactions which take place inside stars and why some stars are main sequence stars while others are not. Keith Hodgkinson joins in. Keith Hodgkinson summarises the programme.
Master spool number: HOU3842
Production number: FOUS230B
Videofinder number: 1780
Available to public: no