The Different Colors of Stars and Why Stars are Colored Differently

Colored Stars in Space

As you may or may not know, stars actually come in a variety of colors.  But do you know all of the different colors that stars can be?  In this post, we will explore why stars come in different colors and then we will identify all of the different colors that stars can be.

The color that a star appears depends mainly on the temperature that it burns at.  More specifically, the color is directly related to the surface temperature of a star.  In the lowest temperature range, stars appear in the red color family.  At the highest temperatures, stars appear blue.  In general, stars are categorized by certain types depending on their temperature, and those temperature ranges and types are as follows:

  • 3,000° – 6,000° Fahrenheit (1,649° – 3,316° Celsius): Type M
  • 6,000° – 8,500° Fahrenheit (3,316° – 4,704° Celsius): Type K
  • 8,500° – 10,500° Fahrenheit (4,704° – 5,816° Celsius): Type G
  • 10,500° – 13,000° Fahrenheit (5,816° – 7,204°  Celsius): Type F
  • 13,000° – 17,500° Fahrenheit (7,204° – 9,704° Celsius): Type A
  • 17,500° – 50,000° Fahrenheit (9,704° – 27,760° Celsius): Type B
  • 50,000° – 100,000° Fahrenheit (27,760° – 55,538° Celsius): Type O

Now that you know what the different classifications for star temperatures are, the next question is what color are stars of a given temperature.  The following star color list shows what color a star will be given the type (i.e. the temperature range) it falls under:

  • Type M stars: Red
  • Type K stars: Orange
  • Type G stars: Yellow-White
  • Type F stars: White
  • Type A stars: White
  • Type B stars: Blue-White
  • Type O stars: Blue

As you can see, by know the surface temperature of a given star, you can determine its color.  One important aspect to realize regarding star color is that a star does not only give off one color of light.  Rather, all stars give off all colors of light – the reason they appear a certain color is because that is the color of the majority of light that the star gives off.

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