Astronomy Exam 3 Chapter 16

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What do we mean by the interstellar medium?

the gas and dust that lies in between the stars in the Milky Way galaxy

The interstellar clouds called molecular clouds are _______.

the cool clouds in which stars form

Which of the following types of molecule is the most abundant in an interstellar molecular cloud?


Interstellar dust consists mostly of _____

microscopic particles of carbon and silicon

Which part of the electromagnetic spectrum generally gives us our best views of stars forming in dusty clouds?


Suppose you look at a star that can be seen through the edge of a dusty interstellar cloud. The star will look _______ than it would if it were outside the cloud.

dimmer and redder

Most interstellar clouds remain stable in size because the force of gravity is opposed by _______ within the cloud.

thermal pressure

What kind of gas cloud is most likely to give birth to stars?

a cold, dense gas cloud

How are magnetic fields thought to affect star formation in molecular clouds?

They can help resist gravity, so that more total mass is needed before the cloud can collapse to form stars.

Which of the following statements is probably true about the very first stars in the universe?

They were made only from hydrogen and helium.

What is a protostar?

a star that is still in the process of forming

Which of the following phenomena is not commonly associated with the star formation process?

intense ultraviolet radiation coming from a protostar

What law explains why a collapsing cloud usually forms a protostellar disk around a protostar?

conservation of angular momentum

What can we learn about a star from a life track on an H-R diagram?

the surface temperature and luminosity the star will have at each stage of its life

When does a protostar become a main-sequence star?

when the rate of hydrogen fusion becomes high enough to balance the rate at which the star radiates energy into space

Approximately what core temperature is required before hydrogen fusion can begin in a star?

10 Million K

Which star spends the longest time in the protostellar phase of life?

a 1 solar mass star

What is the approximate range of masses that newborn main sequence stars can have?

0.1 to 150 solar masses

The vast majority of stars in a newly formed star cluster are ______.

less massive than the Sun

Which of the following statements about brown dwarfs is not true?

Brown dwarfs eventually collapse to become white dwarfs.

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