Girls Exploring the Universe!

July 8 - 12 2019, University of Virginia

 Star in a Box

Have you ever wondered what happens to the different stars in the night sky as they get older? The Star in a Box application lets you explore the life cycle of stars. It animates stars with different starting masses as they change during their lives. Some stars live fast-paced, dramatic lives; others change very little for billions of years. The application visualizes the changes in mass, size, brightness and temperature for all these different stages.

1.    Launch Star in a Box with this link: and open the lid. Set the tab to “Normal” The main plot is a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. On the right, the information panel allows comparisons between the radius, surface temperature, luminosity and mass of the star relative to the Sun. The starting parameters are for a star like the Sun.

2.    Click the play button below the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram to show the Sun’s evolution. Once it is complete, you can click on “Data Table” (upper right) to see the final values for each stage in the lifecycle.

Answer the questions in your packet using the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.