41:3 Our Starry Associates
41:3.1 There are upward of two thousand brilliant suns pouring forth light and energy in Satania, and your own sun is an average blazing orb. Of the thirty suns nearest yours, only three are brighter. The Universe Power Directors initiate the specialized currents of energy which play between the individual stars and their respective systems. These solar furnaces, together with the dark giants of space, serve the power centers and physical controllers as way stations for the effective concentrating and directionizing of the energy circuits of the material creations.
41:3.2 The suns of Nebadon are not unlike those of other universes. The material composition of all suns, dark islands, planets, and satellites, even meteors, is quite identical. These suns have an average diameter of about one million miles, that of your own solar orb being slightly less. The largest star in the universe, the stellar cloud Antares, is four hundred and fifty times the diameter of your sun and is sixty million times its volume. But there is abundant space to accommodate all of these enormous suns. They have just as much comparative elbow room in space as one dozen oranges would have if they were circulating about throughout the interior of Urantia, and were the planet a hollow globe.
41:3.3 When suns that are too large are thrown off a nebular mother wheel, they soon break up or form double stars. All suns are originally truly gaseous, though they may later transiently exist in a semiliquid state. When your sun attained this quasi-liquid state of supergas pressure, it was not sufficiently large to split equatorially, this being one type of double star formation.
41:3.4 When less than one tenth the size of your sun, these fiery spheres rapidly contract, condense, and cool. When upwards of thirty times its size—rather thirty times the gross content of actual material—suns readily split into two separate bodies, either becoming the centers of new systems or else remaining in each other's gravity grasp and revolving about a common center as one type of double star.
41:3.5 The most recent of the major cosmic eruptions in Orvonton was the extraordinary double star explosion, the light of which reached Urantia in A.D. 1572. This conflagration was so intense that the explosion was clearly visible in broad daylight.
41:3.6 Not all stars are solid, but many of the older ones are. Some of the reddish, faintly glimmering stars have acquired a density at the center of their enormous masses which would be expressed by saying that one cubic inch of such a star, if on Urantia, would weigh six thousand pounds. The enormous pressure, accompanied by loss of heat and circulating energy, has resulted in bringing the orbits of the basic material units closer and closer together until they now closely approach the status of electronic condensation. This process of cooling and contraction may continue to the limiting and critical explosion point of ultimatonic condensation.
41:3.7 Most of the giant suns are relatively young; most of the dwarf stars are old, but not all. The collisional dwarfs may be very young and may glow with an intense white light, never having known an initial red stage of youthful shining. Both very young and very old suns usually shine with a reddish glow. The yellow tinge indicates moderate youth or approaching old age, but the brilliant white light signifies robust and extended adult life.
41:3.8 While all adolescent suns do not pass through a pulsating stage, at least not visibly, when looking out into space you may observe many of these younger stars whose gigantic respiratory heaves require from two to seven days to complete a cycle. Your own sun still carries a diminishing legacy of the mighty upswellings of its younger days, but the period has lengthened from the former three and one-half day pulsations to the present eleven and one-half year sunspot cycles.
41:3.9 Stellar variables have numerous origins. In some double stars the tides caused by rapidly changing distances as the two bodies swing around their orbits also occasion periodic fluctuations of light. These gravity variations produce regular and recurrent flares, just as the capture of meteors by the accretion of energy-material at the surface would result in a comparatively sudden flash of light which would speedily recede to normal brightness for that sun. Sometimes a sun will capture a stream of meteors in a line of lessened gravity opposition, and occasionally collisions cause stellar flare-ups, but the majority of such phenomena are wholly due to internal fluctuations.
41:3.10 In one group of variable stars the period of light fluctuation is directly dependent on luminosity, and knowledge of this fact enables astronomers to utilize such suns as universe lighthouses or accurate measuring points for the further exploration of distant star clusters. By this technique it is possible to measure stellar distances most precisely up to more than one million light-years. Better methods of space measurement and improved telescopic technique will sometime more fully disclose the ten grand divisions of the superuniverse of Orvonton; you will at least recognize eight of these immense sectors as enormous and fairly symmetrical star clusters.