main sequence(redirected from Main sequence stars)
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Related to Main sequence stars: Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, red dwarf, red giant
main sequenceThe principal sequence of stars on the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram, running diagonally from upper left (high temperature, high luminosity) to lower right (low temperature, low luminosity) and containing about 90% of all known stars. A star spends most of its life on the main sequence. A newly formed star appears on the main sequence when it first achieves a stable state whereby its core temperature is sufficient for nuclear reactions to begin. It is then at age zero. The positions of the age-zero stars on the H-R diagram are specified by reference to the zero-age main sequence (ZAMS). As hydrogen is converted to helium, changes in chemical composition and stellar structure cause the star's position to shift slightly to the right from its zero-age position.
A star's position on the main sequence depends primarily on its mass, the more massive and thus more luminous stars occurring higher up the sequence. This gives a well-defined mass-luminosity relationship for main-sequence stars. The star's lifetime there also depends on its mass, the more massive stars having much shorter lifetimes: the lifetime is approximately