|An animated gif showing a prism dispersing visible, white |
light into its color components: red, orange, yellow,
green, blue, indigo (seriously? indigo?), and violet
Last time on Science Sunday, I discussed the Sun. I didn't discuss it in it's entirety though, because let's face it, there's enough going on with the Sun to warrant its own blog. In fact, it already has it's own Scientific Journal! Nevertheless, I did a quick overview of how it stays up against the constant threat of gravity without really discussing much of any of the interior physics, and I'm going to just continue to leave that as an open question for some later date.
What I originally wanted to do today was move on toward discussing larger populations of stars beyond our own Sun and those like it (and believe me, there are many). It seemed like the next logical step to me: start with one really well known star, and use that as a jumping-off point to talk about stars in general. However, about one-tenth (if even THAT much) of the way through writing that post, I hit what I perceive to be a massive roadblock. The way that astronomers categorize stars has everything to do with the light that they give off, and it's really pretty damn stupid to talk about this categorization and go onward from there without actually talking about what light IS! It's somewhat like saying "hey, let's talk about all of the different types of cars there are, basing the types on the engines they house," with you all like "hey that's great and all, but what in the hell is an engine?"
I'm supposed to be educating here right? Right! So let's get on with the edumacation* regarding that most magnificently brilliant of things in the Universe: the phenomenon of light! The most blindingly magnificent of bastards!