Background Research

To start this project, we suggest you do some research so that you can confidently answer these questions:

Pleiades Star Cluster
Credit: HST/NASA
  • What is a star?
  • What are the stages in the evolution of a star?
  • What are star clusters?
  • How do open and globular clusters differ?
  • How do astronomers classify stars?
  • What is a colour-magnitude diagram and what can it tell you?
  • How do astronomers measure the brightness of stars?
  • How do telescopes work?
  • What kinds of instruments do telescopes use?
  • What techniques do astronomers use?
  • What is photometry and what can it be used for?
  • What is image processing?

The following areas of the website will help you to carry out this research:

While you are doing your research, think about:

  1. What can data from stars in open clusters tell you?
  2. What assumptions may you be making during the project?
  3. What information do you need to collect for the project?
  4. What charts or graphs may help you during the project?
  5. Where might any sources of error or uncertainty come from?


Now that you've done some research (or started to think about your research) you can get some data.

Or learn more about how to process your data.