Scientists Say: Yellow dwarf

This is a medium-sized star — like our sun

This is an image of our sun, which is a yellow dwarf star. The tiny black dot at the upper left corner is the planet Venus passing in front of it.

NASA/SDO, AIA

Yellow dwarf (noun, “YEH-low DWAR-f”)

This is the term used to describe a medium-sized star. These stars are also known as “G dwarf stars” and “G-type main-sequence stars.” One notable characteristic of these stars is their size. Yellow dwarf stars are between 0.84 and 1.15 times the mass of our sun. Our sun (which is one solar mass) is a yellow dwarf star.

The phrase “yellow dwarf” isn’t quite right, because not all yellow dwarf stars are yellow. Some are white. Our sun is one of these; it is actually white. People perceive it as yellow because we view it through our atmosphere, which distorts its color.  

In a sentence

The Parker Solar Probe is heading for our own yellow dwarf, and will swoop into the sun’s corona in November 2018.

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Bethany is the staff writer at Science News for Students. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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