Facts About the Biggest Star in our Solar System

The sun is the star at the centre of our universe. Worshipped by many civilisations and feared by most, it is a giver of life but could also be the thing that destroys all life as we know it.

With that in mind, here are some scary, shocking, and breath-taking statistics about the biggest star in our solar system..

Sun Worship

Many early civilisations worshipped the sun and created stories about its origin and power. To the Greeks, it was Helios or Apollo, gods tasked with ensuring this big ball of light rose every morning and fell at night. To the Aztecs, it was a little more ominous. Their sun gods, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli “demanded” human sacrifices, lest the sun stop rising.

The sun was also important to the early Japanese, who saw it as a supreme Goddess that ruled the world. Remnants of this devotion remain to this day in the Japanese flag.

The Sun will Consume the Earth

The sun will one day burn through all its hydrogen and begin burning helium, at which point it will expand, consuming several planets, including the Earth. It will become what is known as a Red Giant Star, after which it will collapse, retaining its mass but losing its volume and shrinking to the size of the Earth.

The good news is that this won’t happen for millions of years, so the human race has plenty of time to plot an escape. 

What’s in a Word?

The English language is a fascinating mixture of words borrowed from other languages and extracted from myths and legends, and the solar system holds some of the most intriguing etymologies. In fact, “Solar System” comes from “Sol”, which is another word for “Sun” and comes from the Ancient Roman god of the sun.

“Sun” comes from “Sunne”, an old-English word of Germanic descent whereas “Helium”, one of its main components, comes from “Helios”, the Greek god of the sun.

The Scale

It’s hard to imagine just how big the sun is, because we don’t have a lot of reference. We can barely imagine how big the Earth is, so anything bigger than that is mind boggling. But to give you an idea, the sun accounts for 99.8% of the mass of the solar system (not to be confused with volume) and at over 1.4 million kilometres, it has a diameter that is more than 100 times greater than Earth.

You could fit over 1 million Earths into 1 sun, making our home planet an insignificant speck when compared to this monstrous light source. The sun is also nearly a complete sphere, with a difference of just 10km when comparing the diameters of the poles and equator. 

An Impressive Gift

If you can’t wrap your head around the sheer scale of the sun or the impressive, mind-boggling stats discussed above, then look to the stars instead and pick up one of our Buy-a-Star gift packages. These are much smaller but just as impressive, and we promise they won’t blow up in a few years and threaten the existence of life as we know it!

Amazing Facts About Christmas

Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year, a time when kids get excited, parents despair, and everyone eats and drinks way more than they should. But this season is about much more than gifts, overindulgence, and family, as these amazing Christmas facts prove:

Jingle Bells

Although the song “Jingle Bells” has become synonymous with the Christmas season, it was initially written for Thanksgiving. The song that became the first to be played in space, was penned to celebrate the Medford Sleigh Races (ergo “one horse open sleigh”) in 1857. It just so happened that the lyrics also fit perfectly with Christmas.

Turkey for the Few

Turkey for Christmas dinner may be a big deal in North America and the UK, but there are some more unusual choices elsewhere. In Japan, they tuck into a family feast of KFC; in many eastern European countries, fish is the dish of the day.

Keeping the Christ in Christmas

Many Christians complain that “Xmas” takes the “Christ out of Christmas” and is an overused, over-simplified and even sacrilegious way of expressing the season.

However, in the Greek alphabet, “X” is the first letter in the word “Christ” and is often Anglicised as “Chi”, so it means the same thing. It’s just a fun and relevant way of abbreviating the word.

Christmas in London

The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, London, is one of the most famous in the world and actually comes from Norway. The city of Oslo, Norway, donates the tree to London every year to thank them for their help during the Second World War.

Breaking Up

It’s time to finish on a sad note, because two weeks before Christmas is the most popular time for couples to breakup. There is a myth that suggests Valentine’s Day ends more relationships than any other day, but the entire summer months actually do more damage than the run-up to this romantic holiday and Christmas is the biggest offender of all.

Family arguments, too much time spent indoors—there are many reasons Christmas is at fault for so many breakups. To prevent these complications in your own relationship, show your partner you truly love them with an extraordinarily unique gift, such as our Buy a Star package.

Show them your love is as eternal as the stars, right before you apologise for all the arguments and the offensive things you said about their parents!

The Stages in a Star’s Life

We all know and have seen stars, but do we stop to think what they really are? Stars are large balls of plasma that can produce light and heat in the area around them. While they come in a variety of different masses and forms, they all follow the same basic seven-stage life cycle, where they start as a gas cloud and end as a star remnant. But don’t worry – this is a process that takes millions of years, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy them if you’ve bought and named one as a gift for yourself, a family member, friend or colleague.

stages in a star's life

Giant Molecular Cloud

A star begins life as a large cloud of gas. The temperature inside the cloud is low enough for molecules to form. Some of the molecules light up and allow astronomers to see them in space. The Orion Cloud Complex in the Orion system is an example of a star in this stage of life.

Protostar

As the gas particles in the molecular cloud run into each other, heat energy is created. Because Protostars are warmer than other material in the molecule cloud, these formations can be seen with infrared vision.

T-Tauri

In the T-Tauri stage, the young star will begin to produce strong winds, pushing away the surrounding gas and molecules. This allows the forming star to become visible for the first time, without the help of other devices.

Main Sequence Star

When the young star reaches hydrostatic equilibrium, it gets a solid shape. The star then becomes a Main Sequence Star. Stars spend 90 percent of their life in this stage like our sun.

Giant

Once all of the hydrogen in the star’s core is converted to helium, the core will collapse on itself, causing the star to expand. As it expands, it will be classified as a Subgiant, then a Red Giant.

Core Fusion

After expanding, the star may become large enough to begin fusing the helium molecules in its core. Once this process ends, the core shrinks, and the star will repeat Step 5 again. Eventually, the iron will cause an explosion in the core of the star and lead to a Supernova explosion.

Supernova

After the supernova explosion, the exploded core of the star will be visible and is referred to as a White Dwarf. If the star isn’t that large, it will simply become a planetary Nebula.

After a star reaches the stage when it becomes visible with the naked eye, it joins the Online Star Registry and can be gifted with a certificate to someone for a special occasion. You can even name it and get proof of authenticity with your selected name being included in the registry. And with more and more stars discovered each year and new ones forming all the time – there is virtually an unlimited number of starry delights to choose from if you’re looking for a special gift.

A Sparkling Christmas Proposal

Christmas is the most popular time of year to propose, but for the person popping the question it can be a nerve-wracking business – especially when faced with choosing the perfect gift to accompany that sparkling ring.

These days, there is no need to spend a fortune on a ring or come up with some outrageously elaborate proposal to impress your sweetheart. It’s all about the message you’re trying to communicate and the meaning behind your gesture.

A Sparkling Christmas Proposal

But whether you decide to go with an unconventional ring style with smaller stones like an eternity ring or the evergreen large centrepiece dazzler, we’ve got just the right gift to accompany it. A personalized certificate for naming a star after your loved one! You can register your own shining star in the sky as a unique, everlasting gift to commemorate this special occasion. Now, every time your betrothed looks up – they’ll feel special and loved, knowing that out of the hundreds of thousands twinkles in the sky, one is shining bright just for them. What can be a better way to show you care and mark the moment of your engagement?

Personalize your star by choosing a constellation, star name, and star date. Registering a personalized star is a great way to commemorate your engagement this Christmas. And the best part is – it goes perfectly with your proposal. Even if you’re on a tight budget and have opted for a smaller ring in size or a more modest stone, naming a star is an affordable yet very personal and meaningful way of adding a bit of ‘sparkle’ to the occasion. And it won’t break the bank!

If you want to impress, this is a gift that will surely be well received. Naming a star is something that’s unique but also will never go out of style. It’s both endearing a bit unusual, which makes it all the more effective and memorable. The perfect way to make your loved one’s Christmas a truly magical time!

Sky Watching with Family

How do you get children interested in looking at the night sky? What are some tools to help them enjoy the experience? Today, we learn about sky watching with children and how to get them excited about it.

The starry sky is rich in myths, creatures and gods. Whether it is the legends behind the zodiac, the Greek and Roman stories of celestial battles and beings, the names of the planets, or the wide variety of tales associated with celestial phenomena, the night sky is interesting. It tells tales of ancient stories, heroes, and legends. Science Fiction stories tell of extraterrestrials, spaceships, invasions and distant civilizations.

Most children are naturally curious about the objects in the sky. You teach them about the Sun, the Moon, and the clouds. You explain why the sky is blue, and why the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. But what about the night sky, which can stimulate their imagination and bring to life the celestial world?

It may be challenging to keep little ones up late at night to marvel a meteor shower, a comet passing by or an exceptionally bright starry night showcasing the Milky Way and all other celestial wonders. But there are several things you can do to make this experience more engaging for everyone.

One comes with naming a star after your child – a gift that is both meaningful and personal. Imagine the childlike wonder and excitement every time they look up to the sky and know that in the midst of thousands of twinkling stars – one shines bright just for them. You can even personalize the gift with a certificate of authenticity to make it more official. This way, the next time you’re singing ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’ – there will be a whole new level of depth to this favourite childhood classic.
This may very well lay the foundation of an interest in celestial bodies and astrophysics that remains with the child for life. As they grow older, you can even consider buying a telescope, so they can look at their star up close. A smartphone also offers a number of ways to enjoy the starry sky with apps that let the child point the smartphone toward the night sky and the images of constellations will populate. Planets will also fill the screen if they are in a position related to where you are standing. The app may also show the ISS orbiting the earth and its trajectory.

Sharing the amazing night sky with children will open up an amazing experience filled with stories, heroes, and legends. But it can also turn into a very personal one with naming a star after them. It’s easy and fun to enjoy the time spent with your child as both of you see the wonder of our universe and know you are a part of it.

Are There Really Unlimited Stars in an Infinite Universe

We know that the universe is expanding because, with a few nearby exceptions, almost every galaxy in is moving away from us and from one another. As distant galaxies appear to be receding even more quickly, there is evidence that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate.

Sometimes, just looking up to the sky is enough to grasp the tremendous vastness of space. With hundreds of thousands of stars, astronomers think that there are more stars in our universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth. And while this number may not be unlimited, it is certainly pretty impressive.
This is a piece of good news for everyone looking to buy a star for a special someone this holiday season. There are 100 billion stars in our very own Milky Way galaxy alone, your friends, family, relatives and even colleagues can enjoy a very special gift.

The space that we can observe, does have a definite size, but it is big enough to house all the stars you would like named after the people in your life that matter. Because the universe was born 13.8 billion years ago, we can only observe objects whose light has travelled at most 13.8 billion years to reach Earth. This portion of the universe is called the observable universe, and it’s the only part of the universe we can know anything about.
Choose from a large private registry service that names clearly visible stars that will follow you wherever you go into the night. You can find and easily retrieve the stars we name at the Star Register page. After you purchase a star as a gift, you can even add a personal message and dedication to make this a truly unforgettable experience for someone.

Many things have come and gone, but history remembers Sirius and all other brightly lit stars that we continue tracing on the sky. Why not build an entire constellation for you, your friends, and family that will keep you looking up every night, from any point of the globe, and feel the love, friendship and closeness – no matter the distance?

Romantic things to do this Christmas

Christmas is the time to be happy and spread the cheer all around. Shower your loved ones with care and attention, so they know they matter to you. We’re pretty sure your significant other too is waiting for you to give them some special surprise this Christmas. Go ahead and read the following romantic things to do this Christmas.

Go for a candlelit dinner

Candlelight dinners are always a safe bet. Make reservations to a restaurant with a spectacular view and enjoy an intimate meal with nature’s beautiful scenery as the backdrop. We personally love a venue that’s just outside of the city and offers unspoilt views of the starry sky – nothing can be more romantic.

Make a personalized ‘love’ box

Similar to the Christmas gift boxes that have been so popular lately, why not make the person you love – their very own ‘love’ box? You can put all sorts of charming little safekeeps from your time together. Plane and concert tickets, photographs and post cards. You can even include a charming gift certificate for naming a star after them, so every time they open their ‘love’ box, they’ll know just how much they mean to you.

Plan a getaway

A lot of people are choosing to spend Christmas away from home at some exotic destination. Warm sunny beaches or warm chalets tucked amidst snowy mountain peaks – you choose! Start writing your adventure now and book a trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit this Christmas to make it all the more special.

Take a new hobby together

Nothing brings people closer than shared interests. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but never quite found time to do it? Ask your partner to join you and make a change in your life. Dancing lessons, painting, sculpting, hiking and stargazing – the list goes on and on. Who knows – they might have wanted to try the same thing as you all along.

Commit for the Long Run

Christmas is a time to spend with family, so if you haven’t already done it – pop over to your parents’ house to introduce them to the person you wake up every morning next to. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like making it official for friends and family. Besides, becoming exclusive unlocks a whole new level of intimacy in the relationship that is hard to describe. You’d be glad you did it!

The advantages of stargazing

The thrilling alignment of Jupiter and Venus this week promised love, luck and exciting change well into 2018. Not to mention it was one of the best sights in the night sky until the end of this year. The two brightest planets in our solar system put on a spectacular show and their sensational display showed them so close they were almost touching.

Thrilled stargazers across the world had to get up early before sunrise to catch a glimpse of the sky but it paid off. The stunning dance of the planets was just one of the advantages of stargazing. The ensuing effects this astrological phenomenon will create memories that last a lifetime.

The conjunction we witnessed in the sky last week is the most powerful of all planetary relationships.

It happens two or more planets align and fuse their powers, magnifying the effects each would normally exhibit on their own. Wherever one wields its influence, the other does the same.

But what traits do Venus and Jupiter each bring to their celestial union? Since Venus represents love, peace and harmony as well as money and exchange, and Jupiter – growth wisdom, wealth, morality, justice, faith, fortune, success, excess – this is truly a powerful union.

Venus and Jupiter align every year, but their display is only easily visible every 15 to 20 years, as the Sun usually blocks our view. But the effects of the alignment are clear to see.

Last year, they united in Virgo just as a ceasefire was announced in Colombia, ending 52 years of civil war; soon afterwards, Mother Teresa was made a saint.

This alignment has not arrived in Scorpio for more than a decade and this is a unique combination. Scorpio represents power and control, Jupiter is a figure of justice, and Venus helps bring about peace.

So aside from a spectacular sight that illuminated the morning sky, this event is significant in a myriad of other ways. It is one of those rare natural occurrences that can be shared with a loved one to really bring you closer and make you rethink what’s important in life. Because the moment you hold your significant other closer and gaze at nature’s most beautiful night show, a whole new level of appreciation will wash over you.

In fact, few things are as a romantic as a late night stroll underneath the starry sky and there are ways to make such a moment last forever. Why not name a star after someone you hold dear, so every time they look up to the sky – they know just how much they mean to you? We offer a special package with a gift certificate to include a personal message to someone close to your heart.

Make stargazing a truly personal and shared experience of a lifetime thanks to a gift that goes the extra mile.

Amazing Time Lapse of the Northern Lights and The Milky Way

Landscape photography has always been captivated by the beauty of the starry sky, the Northern Lights and the Milky Way. World-renowned photographers venture all the way to the Norway, Iceland and Greenland to capture the perfect shot and tell a story of unknown far-away worlds.

The latest trend in landscape photography are time-lapse videos and photos. They require a serious time investment, but the end result is something truly out of this world. A time lapse of the aurora borealis (the northern lights) and the Milky Way is something that is as breath-taking as it is captivating to watch. And there is an undeniable charm to a starry sky – one that gets people always looking up in awe.

And as life is all about sharing those experiences that are truly meaningful, giving the gift of a star named after someone is as special as it gets. Whether it is to mark an anniversary, a birth, an engagement or a birthday – naming a star is a gift of hope and love. It’s the ultimate way to let someone know they’re loved and cherished. Imagine how every time they look up – they will see one star twinkling for them alone.

And you needn’t worry if you can’t come up with a suitable name for the stars you have purchased! We offer Gift Cards that allow the recipient to register and name their very own star, which will surely add a little sparkle to the whole experience. The best part is, each recipient receives the Gift Pack at their own address for an even more personalized and special gift.

Perfect gift for baby showers, engagement parties, wedding gift and anniversaries –the best gifts are those that show just how much you care in a loving and meaningful way.

Amazing Constellation Facts

We’ve all looked up in awe at the starry sky and wondered about the far-away stars, galaxies and constellations. But in reality we know so little about what’s around us.

Constellations (“set of stars”) are groups of stars that imaginatively been linked together by ancient civilizations to depict mythological characters, animals and objects from mankind’s history. This way our ancestors were able to organize the night sky into a recognizable form to assist in their religious study of the celestial heavens. This had other, more practical, applications as well, such as predicting the seasons for farming, and measuring time or as a directional compass.
In 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially recognized 88 constellations. 48 of them alone were recorded by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in his book ‘Almagest’, which was written around 150 AD. Ptolemy’s chart had gaps, but over the centuries new constellations have been added to the list, until it completed the remaining constellations we are now familiar with in the night sky.

orion constell

Our knowledge of the constellations and the stars comes from the Greeks, the Ancient Egyptians, the Mesopotamian and even the Hebrew Bible. Orion is perhaps the most recognizable of all the constellations. The biggest constellation is Hydra – it extends over more than 3% of the night sky, and the smallest is Crux covering a mere 0.165%. Everyone remembers from our school books the famous Ursa Major and Ursa Minor!

ursa major

Centaurus contains the largest number of visible stars at 101; while Canis Major contains the brightest star in the celestial heavens – Sirius. There are 100 billion stars the Milky Way galaxy alone and there is no better gift than to name one after a friend, a loved one, a relative or a colleague. There are so many reasons to sprinkle some star dust on someone special. We are sure that anyone of us has closest people that deserve to be treated in a special way. And with some moments in our life happening only once, such occasions require unique approaches to make these events all the more memorable.

ursa minor

Choose from a large private star registry service that names clearly visible stars that will follow you wherever you go into the night. You can find and easily retrieve the stars we name at the Star Register page. After you purchase a star as a gift, you can even add a personal message and dedication to make this a truly unforgettable experience for someone.