# 19.4 The h–r diagram and cosmic distances

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## Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

• Understand how spectral types are used to estimate stellar luminosities
• Examine how these techniques are used by astronomers today

Variable stars are not the only way that we can estimate the luminosity of stars. Another way involves the H–R diagram, which shows that the intrinsic brightness of a star can be estimated if we know its spectral type.

## Distances from spectral types

As satisfying and productive as variable stars have been for distance measurement, these stars are rare and are not found near all the objects to which we wish to measure distances. Suppose, for example, we need the distance to a star that is not varying, or to a group of stars, none of which is a variable. In this case, it turns out the H–R diagram    can come to our rescue.

If we can observe the spectrum of a star, we can estimate its distance from our understanding of the H–R diagram. As discussed in Analyzing Starlight , a detailed examination of a stellar spectrum allows astronomers to classify the star into one of the spectral types indicating surface temperature. (The types are O, B, A, F, G, K, M, L, T, and Y; each of these can be divided into numbered subgroups.) In general, however, the spectral type alone is not enough to allow us to estimate luminosity. Look again at [link] . A G2 star could be a main-sequence star with a luminosity of 1 L Sun , or it could be a giant with a luminosity of 100 L Sun , or even a supergiant with a still higher luminosity.

We can learn more from a star’s spectrum, however, than just its temperature. Remember, for example, that we can detect pressure differences in stars from the details of the spectrum. This knowledge is very useful because giant stars are larger (and have lower pressures) than main-sequence stars, and supergiants are still larger than giants. If we look in detail at the spectrum of a star, we can determine whether it is a main-sequence star, a giant, or a supergiant.

Suppose, to start with the simplest example, that the spectrum, color, and other properties of a distant G2 star match those of the Sun exactly. It is then reasonable to conclude that this distant star is likely to be a main-sequence star just like the Sun and to have the same luminosity as the Sun. But if there are subtle differences between the solar spectrum and the spectrum of the distant star, then the distant star may be a giant or even a supergiant.

The most widely used system of star classification divides stars of a given spectral class into six categories called luminosity classes . These luminosity classes are denoted by Roman numbers as follows:

• Ia: Brightest supergiants
• Ib: Less luminous supergiants
• II: Bright giants
• III: Giants
• IV: Subgiants (intermediate between giants and main-sequence stars)
• V: Main-sequence stars

The full spectral specification of a star includes its luminosity class. For example, a main-sequence star with spectral class F3 is written as F3 V. The specification for an M2 giant is M2 III. [link] illustrates the approximate position of stars of various luminosity classes on the H–R diagram. The dashed portions of the lines represent regions with very few or no stars.

hi i need a telescope would you help mee
i can only advice you to go to some museum
Gospel
wher is it?
Nauman
but before that.......... i wanna know where are you from and from which state...and if you are nearer to that of the museum or will be able to go then.,.. i donot have any more words.
Gospel
What Do Plan To Observe?
sorry . i am from asia
Nauman
Check on amazon.Celeston telescopes are good for beginners.
priyanshu
Nauman
can you
Nauman
Asia...? from which country you belong into ...,,is it India or where?
Gospel
Do You Want A Telescope With ALot Of Maintenance Or Zero Maintenance?
pakistan
Nauman
with alot offf
Nauman
Any second hand online stores in your area? great for unused Christmas gifts etc..
Collins
So You Want A Newtonian Reflector?
So what i would put for that answer ?
The largest observatory complex in the world is on Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain on Earth. Whatare some factors astronomers consider when selecting an observatory site? Don’t forget practical ones.Should astronomers, for example, consider building an observatory on Denali (Mount McKinley) or MountEverest?
i need help on the the second part
Abdulla
Should astronomers for example considered building an observatory on Denali (Mount Mckinley) or MountEverest ?
Abdulla
I would take into consideration. climate weather pattern.
basim
also, could an establishment be built and be able to sustain years of being beaten by the weather?
basim
so far Mount Everest to my understanding is a difficult mountain
basim
how far us milky way galaxy?
oh man
We are part of the Milky Way Galaxy. We are within it, so it's not really away from us. Our galaxy is 100,000 light years in diameter. The nearest big galaxy is Andromeda, around 2 million lightyears away.
Jignesh
its 200,000 light years
Gospel
Where is Rice University located?
world
that couldn't be any more wrong 😂😂
jay
what even is this conversation😂😂!?
Herrera
Show Some Class.....
Houston, Texas.....
Houston
Preston
what is the first step to take as far as getting into the field of astronomy?
how are universe made up of?
saksi
lanika
I think that your question is- What is the universe made up of?
priyanshu
Ever heard of matter?
priyanshu
Well,the universe is made up of matter and possibly antimatter
priyanshu
Actually,it's made up of matter's smaller units,fundamental particles
priyanshu
But for normal purposes,say that it's made of matter
priyanshu
priyanshu
there are several theories,but the widely accepted one is the 'Big Bang Theory'.
priyanshu
In simple words,a veeeeeeery long time ago (20 billion years).
priyanshu
The universe was just inside a very small point.
priyanshu
Then,it started to expand.
priyanshu
It is still expanding today
priyanshu
But remember,it's just a theory,there is no hard and fast proof
priyanshu
oh d*mn😭😭😭😭 i cant do my astronomy quest
swagirl
up Down quarks atoms electrons proton neutrons
Blake
😭😭😭😭..
swagirl
usually in astronomy quest there's many math formula. i'm difficult on them
practice!
Collins
?
swagirl
what was the question? if you need any help CrashCourse/astronomy and physics channel on YouTube are a good help.
Collins
yeah like... you know venn diagram?
swagirl
yeah it's for sets
Vinit
***youtu.be/uR70knMr2Hg
Collins
this might help you understand Venn diagram. and yes they're sets of numbers.
Collins
tx for u
swagirl
why the dark side of moon never face us? because moon dont rotate? why tho
im in 8th standard and my school teach us nothing about astronomy but i want to be an astronomer so i study from youtube and apps like this but sometimes i get language problems
Rishabh
dark**
Glory
side**
Glory
The Moon does actually rotate. It takes 27 days for the Moon to make a full rotation. Because it takes it so long and the Earth is rotating around the sun, it seems like the Moon is pretty much standing still. That's called "synchronous rotation".
steveh259
I ment to say "The Earth is orbiting around the sun"
steveh259
Tidal Locked.....
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
thats cool
Gospel
ya gives you a look at how the moon orbits around us too and a perspective of how fast we are going. also gives the moon phases for the year! enjoy 😁
Collins
yes you are absolutely correct, it just like something like the milk of heaven
Subhasish
the far side of the moon is not the dark side of the moon.
Shawn
Tidal Locking?
priyanshu
what phases of the moon occurs when spring tide?
the moon has a 28 day cycle. you can download a moon calander or follow the pattern and make your own calendar. 1st full moon of the year 21/22nd Jan, its also a blood moon and a wolf moon. if this info helps at all. 😊
Collins
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
How to determine the velocity of light?
using this formula c=1/√absolute permeability×absolute permittivity of free space i.e. c=1/√8.854×10^-12×4π×10^-7~3×10^8ms^-1
Vidyashankar
what is mean by Big Bang
What it means by Big Bang is how the world was made and came in to exist
Glory
The Big Bang Is The Best Explanation For What We See Around Us, And For The Origin Of The Universe, All Our Evidence Points To The Big Bang Theory..... And Was Proposed By A Belgian Priest.....
if the big bang theory is really true than i would like to know what exploded and where did it came from and where did the energy came from and where come from for the matter to expand into amd where did the organization come from and where did the information come from.........
Gospel
Some say that on the otherside of the singularity was a black hole. They say that at the other end of all black holes is another universe. Hence the multiverse. It's all theoretical at this point but less than a 100 years ago people believed that there was only 1 galaxy in the universe. So why
Rafael
should there be only 1 universe?
Rafael
universe.
Rafael
Big Bang is a theory on the origin of the universe.It says that the whole universe started as an infinitely dense and hot point,which expanded with time to form the universe in which we live today.
priyanshu
but if you study about string theory then you will come to know that before big bang there were string ( vibrating particles) which cause to form the conditions for big bang.
YOG
Hmm,actually,I dont know much about string theory,just a little.I just wanted to tell this guy what is the Big Bang Theory.
priyanshu
and according to string theory black holes are giant fuzzball of strings,there is no infinity dense singularity and no smooth horizon there is just only a ball of string
YOG
is astronomy a hard subject to learn because i want to be an astronomer
No it not it just takes time and effort to learn
Glory
Collins
I want to become a scientist but my knowledge is very low. How I can improve my knowledge?
Wwe
any form of science courses, there's free crash course channel on you tube. I've learned alot from this channel. covers most topics, science: biology chemistry physics, astronomy, ranges to anatomy, history and many many more. it's a never ending subject!
Collins
suggest a channel as a example
Wwe
CrashCourse is the name of the channel and there is a picture of an apple. look through their play lists. They will have other related channels they follow also.
Collins
thank you so much
Wwe
Collins
Why are they so far away that their light takes hundreds of millions of years to reach us on earth?
Because the universe is wayyyyyy bigger than the earth
priyanshu
You can't expect everything to form close to Earth.
priyanshu
what is comets , astroids ,
comets are broken pieces of dust frozen debris Asteroids are big soiled pieces of Ice that burst into flames when it in to earth's atmosphere
Glory
Glory,you aren't correct
priyanshu