What do stars actually look like from up close?

  • Stargazing
  • Thread starter Nathi ORea
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  • #1
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Summary:

What do certain stars look like up close in terms of; colour, and ability to look at.
I have been wondering what certain stars would look like from a closish distance. The kinda size with about the same angular diameter that the Sun has from Earth or bigger. I was mostly wondering about red giants, red supergiants, and red dwarfs.

Like… Would they look red from that sort of distance or white. I mostly ask this because I started this thread (https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/blackbody-colour-of-metals-versus-stars.996533/), and got me thinking perhaps they would look white.

How diffuse their outer limb, edge (whatever it is called) would appear to be?

…. and also, would you be able to look at it? Like… Red dwarfs are really faint. Would you simply be able to stare at one without hurting your eyes. Is the light so spread out across a red giants disk that you would be able to look at it?

I guess I am assuming that all the horrible radiation is taken out, like if you are on a planet like Earth.

Is there anything else interesting about being near these stars.

Thanks so much. I learnt so much from my last thread!

Naithi.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
stefan r
Science Advisor
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If you lock in the angular diameter then they look about the same whenever the color is about the same. The bluish ones would burn out your retina and then char your skin fairly quickly. Would not matter if it was a white dwarf or a blue supergiant. If it was a white dwarf you must be extremely close in order for it to have the Sun's angular resolution.

With any star you are mostly looking at hot hydrogen and helium with a few contaminants mixed in. It is like turning up an electric stove. The burner gets red when the iron is hot. If you made it hotter it would look white. The puddle under a welding arc has a blue color. It is iron in each case. The glow is black body radiation.
 
  • #3
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Summary:: What do certain stars look like up close in terms of; colour, and ability to look at.

I have been wondering what certain stars would look like from a closish distance.
I hope that nobody gets the stupid idea to look close by naked eye or through an ordinary lense!

Means: If you don't want to become blind, you always have to use some filter, so nobody knows the answer. There are several close-up photos of the sun on the internet. My favorite one is this:
Sonne2.jpg
 
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