Exploring the Universe: Star Formation (2020)

  • Star Formation
  • Star Formation
  • Star Formation
  • Star Formation
  • Star Formation
  • Star Formation
NISE Network product

In this activity, participants will learn how stars form from the dust and gas that exists in space clumping together. They'll model the star-formation process by adding energy (via a hair dryer) to matter floating in space (ping pong balls) to see how much of it they can get to "clump" in an empty container. The more matter they can accumulate, the larger their model star will be. This activity can be adjusted to make it easier for younger participants.



Learning Goals
  1. The space between stars, planets, and other large objects is not empty—it contains gas and dust.

  2. Stars are born when huge amounts of gas and dust clump together.

  3. The more gas and dust that clump together, the higher the new star’s mass.

  4. NASA scientists use telescopes to learn more about how stars form.



This material is based on work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award numbers NNX16AC67A and 80NSSC18M0061. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Owning institution

Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY


Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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