Recipe for the Stars

Audience+members+gather+around+equipment+in+the+Planetarium+at+the+Montgomery+College+Takoma+Park+Silver+Spring+campus.+--+Photo+by%3A+Chris+Jaques

Audience members gather around equipment in the Planetarium at the Montgomery College Takoma Park Silver Spring campus. -- Photo by: Chris Jaques

Original: February 22, 2011 Issue 11

By: Lok Hang Au

Staff Writer

Audience members gather around equipment in the Planetarium at the Montgomery College Takoma Park Silver Spring campus. -- Photo by: Chris Jaques


Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are!

This well-known song unveils people’s obsession toward the stars. When we look up to the sky at night, we see many stars and the moon. They are untouchable, yet glittering and amazing.

According to Cornell University, stars are created at a rate of about 3 solar masses per year (i.e. three times the mass of the Sun is produced every year). This never ends as long as the universe exists.

Curious children may ask their parents how stars are formed. If they want to know the answer, they should have attended Dr. Harold Alden Williams talk.

The seminar, “How are Stars Born?,” was held on Feb. 5 in the Planetarium at Takoma Park/ Silver Spring Campus.

The Planetarium was full of viewers intent on learning about stars. With the use of telescopes, namely a 13 inch Dobsonian, 10 inch (2540mm) Meade LX200-GPS-SMT, a 3.5 inch (88.9mm) Questar and a 4.125 inch (105mm) Edmund Astroscan, stars are projected onto the twenty-four-foot dome.

Numerous sparkling stars were very close to the audience. Many people showed their appreciation towards the magnificent scenery.

Dr. Williams revealed detailed theoretical calculations of star formation. The professor explained to the audience how to you would create your own star.

First, find a whole lot of gas and dust, break it into many pieces and stir it up all the time. Second, gravity, magnetic fields and plenty of harsh light are added. Third, wait about 1 million years for gravitational collapse. Thanks to the spinning the star’s shape is formed. Watch out for other stars and blobs whizzing by, trying to mess up your plans. Finally, start fusing hydrogen so that energy is released causing your star to shine.

Many events will be organized in the planetarium. One event, “How Seeing the Stars Will Save You Money and Possibly Save Your Life,” will be hosted on March 26 at 7pm. Do not miss this chance to witness the universe.