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Meanwhile, the core becomes a stellar remnant: a white dwarf, a neutron star, or if it is sufficiently massive a black hole.

In 1584, Giordano Bruno suggested that the stars were like the Sun, and may have other planets, possibly even Earth-like, in orbit around them, By the following century, the idea of the stars being the same as the Sun was reaching a consensus among astronomers.

To explain why these stars exerted no net gravitational pull on the Solar System, Isaac Newton suggested that the stars were equally distributed in every direction, an idea prompted by the theologian Richard Bentley.

When the stellar core is sufficiently dense, hydrogen becomes steadily converted into helium through nuclear fusion, releasing energy in the process.

The remainder of the star's interior carries energy away from the core through a combination of radiative and convective heat transfer processes.

Indeed, most are invisible from Earth even through the most powerful telescopes.

For at least a portion of its life, a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core, releasing energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiates into outer space.

In some cases, it will fuse heavier elements at the core or in shells around the core.

As the star expands it throws a part of its mass, enriched with those heavier elements, into the interstellar environment, to be recycled later as new stars.

William Herschel was the first astronomer to attempt to determine the distribution of stars in the sky.

During the 1780s, he established a series of gauges in 600 directions and counted the stars observed along each line of sight.

By convention, astronomers grouped stars into constellations and used them to track the motions of the planets and the inferred position of the Sun.