For Further Exploration: The Stars: A Celestial Census


Croswell, K. “The Periodic Table of the Cosmos.” Scientific American (July 2011):45–49. A brief introduction to the history and uses of the H–R diagram.

Davis, J. “Measuring the Stars.” Sky & Telescope (October 1991): 361. The article explains direct measurements of stellar diameters.

DeVorkin, D. “Henry Norris Russell.” Scientific American (May 1989): 126.

Kaler, J. “Journeys on the H–R Diagram.” Sky & Telescope (May 1988): 483.

McAllister, H. “Twenty Years of Seeing Double.” Sky & Telescope (November 1996): 28. An update on modern studies of binary stars.

Parker, B. “Those Amazing White Dwarfs.” Astronomy (July 1984): 15. The article focuses on the history of their discovery.

Pasachoff, J. “The H–R Diagram’s 100th Anniversary.” Sky & Telescope (June 2014): 32.

Roth, J., and Sinnott, R. “Our Studies of Celestial Neighbors.” Sky & Telescope (October 1996): 32. A discussion is provided on finding the nearest stars.


  • Eclipsing Binary Stars: Dan Bruton at Austin State University has created this collection of animations, articles, and links showing how astronomers use eclipsing binary light curves.
  • Henry Norris Russell: A biographic memoir by Harlow Shapley.
  • Henry Norris Russell: A Bruce Medal profile of Russell.
  • Hertzsprung–Russell Diagram: This site from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey introduces the H–R diagram and gives you information for making your own. You can go step by step by using the menu at the left. Note that in the project instructions, the word “here” is a link and takes you to the data you need.
  • Stars of the Week: Astronomer James Kaler does “biographical summaries” of famous stars—not the Hollywood type, but ones in the real sky.


WISE Mission Surveys Nearby Stars: Short video about the WISE telescope survey of brown dwarfs and M dwarfs in our immediate neighborhood (1:21)