main sequence


: the group of stars that on a graph of spectrum versus luminosity forms a band comprising 90 percent of stellar types and that includes stars representative of the stages a normal star passes through during the majority of its lifetime

Examples of main sequence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web After main sequence, however, stars like ours will run out of hydrogen fuel to burn — which could occur anywhere from about 6 to 7 billion years from now. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 18 Apr. 2023 The model that best matched the data found a ratio of 2,000 planets for every main sequence star in the galaxy —billions of stars. Mara Johnson-Groh, Discover Magazine, 9 Feb. 2018 In fact, they're considered the smallest main sequence of stars, per NASA. Julia Johnson, Washington Examiner, 11 Jan. 2023 That’s about half the main sequence life of the largest stars in our solar neighborhood. Bruce Dorminey, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2022 However, most of these are around main sequence stars and red dwarfs. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 30 Sep. 2022 These types of stars, which are very common in the Milky Way and throughout the universe, are the dimmest and smallest of stars that fuse hydrogen into helium in their cores, known as main sequence stars. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Oct. 2022 In this case, the researchers propose looking at K-dwarfs (a set of relatively cold stars in the main sequence) that are local by astronomy standards. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 17 Jan. 2022 Stars spend a majority of their lives in the main sequence phase. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 13 June 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'main sequence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1925, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of main sequence was in 1925

Dictionary Entries Near main sequence

Cite this Entry

“Main sequence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

main sequence

: a group of stars that form a band on a graph of their color versus their brightness

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