Stars and galaxies

We might make wishes on stars but there's much more to these balls of gas than simply being twinkly, mystical objects in the night sky. Discover how stars are formed, how they get their names, what makes a galaxy, and the history of constellations.


When did the universe start, how come it has all the elements it has and what happens when it’s all over?

The unimaginably large Sun is just one of 200,000,000,000 stars that make up our Galaxy (itself one of many).

Sirius 9798 © David Pye, Astronomy Photographer of the Year Stars and Nebulae Joint Runner-Up 2015

There are only a few things money can’t buy and your name on a star is one of them. So how are they named?

Stars are born, become middle aged and eventually die (usually in a spectacular fashion). In the process, they make almost everything in the Universe.

What do you get when you blow up a really big star? Everything it turns out.

We know the Sun is destined to become a white dwarf but what is that and what happens next?

The Sun’s diameter is 100 times that of Earth’s but its mass is 300,000 times greater and it is 15,000,000°C at its core.

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Polaris is the brightest star in the Ursa Minor constellation, and has been used by sailors for navigating at sea.


How high can you go? Get the low-down on all that's 'high up' in our fact-packed infographic. Who has flown the highest? Could we really build an elevator to space?

VDB 38 © Mark Hanson, shortlisted in Stars and Nebula category, Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017.jpg

What was the Star of Bethlehem? Over the years many astronomical explanations have been suggested - but how realistic are they?