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STELLAR NUMBERS SOLUTION

RICHARD CRAIG, III


ACADEMY OF RICHMOND COUNTY
rzcraig3@gmail.com

Stellar Numbers Solution
The first pattern shown in the stellar numbers task is called the triangular numbers. It becomes obvious
from the graphical representation that each figure adds a new row. The number of dots in the additional
row is one greater than the number in the largest row of the previous figure. That is to say that to move
from the 2
nd
figure to the 3
rd
, we add 3 dots. To move from the 3
rd
figure to the 4
th
, we add four dots. In
general, to move from figure n to figure n+1, we add n+1 additional dots. A regression finds the explicit
formula to be

n
= .n
2
+.n
where
n
represents the total number of dots and n represents the term number. A more approachable
equation may be

n
=
n(n+1)
2
,
which means we simply multiply the current term number by the next term number and take half in
order to find the number of dots.
The following table shows the number of dots for the first four figures.
n un
1 1
2 13
3 37
4 73

To move from n=1 to n=2, 12 dots are added. From n=2 to n=3, 24 dots are added. Finally, from n=3 to
n=4, 36 dots are added. The increase in dots increase itself each time by 12 more dots. This is because
the outside star of each stellar shape has twice as many dots as the outside star of the previous stellar
shape. The outside star in S
2
has 12 dots, S
3
s outside star has 24 and S
4
s outside star has 36. This
pattern is confirmed by drawing the next few stellar figures. A table of values for 1n10 is shown
below.
n un
1 1
2 13
3 37
4 73
5 121
6 181
7 253
8 337
9 433
10 541
An expression to represent the 6-stellar number at stage S
7
is
S
7
=1+12+24+36+48+60+72=253.
A regression easily finds a general statement for the 6-stellar number at stage S
n
in terms of n to be

n
= n
2
-n +.
Let us now consider the 8-stellar numbers. The first few diagrams are shown below:

The table below counts the dots in each figure:
n S
n

1 1
2 17
3 49
4 97
Note that the amount of dots in the outer layer (the amount each figure increases by) is 16 in S
2
and 32
in S
3
and 48 in S
4
. Following this pattern, we can easily deduce the amount of dots in each figure, and
the following chart shows that for 1n10.
n S
n

1 1
2 17
3 49
4 97
5 161
6 241
7 337
8 449
9 577
10 721
A regression finds the formula for the sum, S
n
, of the 8-stellar numbers to be

n
= 8n
2
-8n +.
Following these same patters, it is easy to deduce the p-stellar numbers for other values of p. The
following table shows p={4,5,7,9,10}.
p 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
n S
n
S
n
S
n
S
n
S
n
S
n
S
n
S
n
S
n
S
n

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21
3 7 13 19 25 31 37 43 49 55 61
4 13 25 37 49 61 73 85 97 109 121
5 21 41 61 81 101 121 141 161 181 201
6 31 61 91 121 151 181 211 241 271 301
7 43 85 127 169 211 253 295 337 379 421
8 57 113 169 225 281 337 393 449 505 561
9 73 145 217 289 361 433 505 577 649 721
10 91 181 271 361 451 541 631 721 811 901
The following graphs show a scatterplot of n versus S
n
for each value of p from 1 to 5.
10 8 6 4 2 0
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
n
p
=
1
Scatterplot of p=1 vs n

10 8 6 4 2 0
200
150
100
50
0
n
p
=
2
Scatterplot of p=2 vs n

10 8 6 4 2 0
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
n
p
=
3
Scatterplot of p=3 vs n

10 8 6 4 2 0
400
300
200
100
0
n
p
=
4
Scatterplot of p=4 vs n

10 8 6 4 2 0
500
400
300
200
100
0
n
p
=
5
Scatterplot of p=5 vs n

The following table shows the general statement for value of p, obtained from using a simple regression:





p
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

In general, it is easy to see that the equation for S
It should be clear that because the values of this equation represent a number of dots in a diagram, that
n,p .

*Note validity should be checked and an
Richard Craig rzcraig3@gmail.com*
Equation
n
2
-n+1
2n
2
-2n+1
3n
2
-3n+1
4n
2
-4n+1
5n
2
-5n+1
6n
2
-6n+1
7n
2
-7n+1
8n
2
-8n+1
9n
2
-9n+1
10n
2
-10n+1
In general, it is easy to see that the equation for S
n
of the p-stellar numbers is

It should be clear that because the values of this equation represent a number of dots in a diagram, that
validity should be checked and an informal justification provided. Please send any comments to
rzcraig3@gmail.com*
It should be clear that because the values of this equation represent a number of dots in a diagram, that
informal justification provided. Please send any comments to