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Stars are large, luminous celestial bodies composed of hot, glowing gases, primarily hydrogen and helium. They are held together by their own gravitational force and emit light and heat due to the process of nuclear fusion that occurs in their cores.

Stars form from clouds of gas and dust in space called nebulae. Gravity causes these clouds to collapse and condense, increasing the density and temperature at their centers. When the temperature reaches a critical point, nuclear fusion begins, where hydrogen atoms combine to form helium. This fusion process releases an enormous amount of energy in the form of light and heat, which is what makes stars shine.

The energy generated by fusion creates an outward pressure that balances the inward force of gravity. This equilibrium allows stars to maintain their size and shape for millions or billions of years, depending on their mass. The most common type of star, like our Sun, is called a main-sequence star, which spends the majority of its lifetime fusing hydrogen into helium.

Stars come in various sizes, colors, and temperatures, which are determined by their mass. Larger stars have more mass and burn through their fuel faster, leading to shorter lifespans. Stars can also vary in temperature, ranging from cool, red stars to extremely hot, blue stars. The color of a star is an indication of its surface temperature.

Stars play a crucial role in the universe. They are responsible for producing and distributing heavy elements, such as carbon, oxygen, and iron, through nuclear fusion and stellar explosions. These elements form the building blocks for planets, life forms, and everything we see around us.

Additionally, stars often gather in galaxies, enormous collections of stars, gas, and dust held together by gravity. Galaxies can contain billions or even trillions of stars, forming a vast cosmic tapestry in the universe.

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