main sequence

(redirected from Main sequence stars)
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Related to Main sequence stars: Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, red dwarf, red giant

main sequence

The 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

1010(M /M O )–3 years
where M and M O are the stellar and solar mass. After the star has consumed most of the helium in its core (see stellar evolution) it evolves away from the main sequence: its radius and luminosity increase and it eventually becomes a giant.

main sequence

[′mān ′sē·kwəns]
(astronomy)
The band in the spectrum luminosity diagram which has the great majority of stars; their energy derives from core burning of hydrogen into helium.
References in periodicals archive ?
As a consequence of the Einsteinian general theory of relativity, a main sequence star, at the end of its evolution, will become, in terms of its mass, one of the follows: a dwarf, a neutron star, or a stellar black hole.
This causes the two stars to spiral ever closer together until they reach the point where gas starts to leak from the main sequence star through the inner Lagrangian point of their combined gravitational field onto the white dwarf, because the larger star has now filled its Roche lobe.
8244 c/d, which is within the characteristic range for g-mode pulsation of hotter main sequence stars.