A star is a luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Other stars, mostly in the Milky Way, are visible from Earth during the night, appearing as a multitude of fixed luminous points due to their immense distance. Historically, the most prominent stars were grouped into constellations and asterisms, and the brightest stars gained proper names. Extensive catalogues of stars have been assembled by astronomers, which provide standardized star designations.
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