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Olivia Wilkins
Ph.D. Student, CCE

Stars come in a variety of flavors on a spectrum of size, temperature, and apparent-color. O-type stars, which burn blue, are the largest (~40 solar masses) and hottest stars. They are also the rarest (at least in the vicinity of the solar system), with only 1 in 3 million stars being O-type. At the other end of the main-sequence spectrum are M-type stars, also known as M dwarfs or red dwarfs. These stars are cool and small, having a size at most ~0.5 solar masses. While an estimated three-fourths of stars in our solar neighborhood are M-type, these stars are so faint that they typically can't be seen with the unaided eye. In the middle are G-type stars, like the Sun, with A- and F-stars being larger and hotter, and K-stars being smaller and cooler.

As an astrochemist, I think of the galaxy as a large extraterrestrial laboratory. I study the earliest stages of star formation, which over millions upon millions of years yields stars much like the ones in these test tubes.

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

owilkins@caltech.edu

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