|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
Hi Ellen I haven't able to find out what the actual chemical in glow-in-the-dark stars is, but I can tell you why they glow... The chemical in the stars exhibits a property called "phosphorescence". It absorbs radiant energy, such as light. The electrons store this energy by jumping to a higher 'energy level'. When you remove the light source (ie, switch off your bedroom light), the electrons return to their original energy level, and release the stored energy as light. A typical phosphorescent material which is used widely, is Zinc Sulphide (ZnS). However, there are lots of other materials which are also phosphorescent, and produce different colours, including green, violet, blue, red and pink. If you still need more info, you may want to try using a search engine to look for 'phosphorescent materials', or 'phosphorescence'. Hope this helps Jonathan Feldman University of Western Sydney, Nepean
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Chemistry.