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The abundances of the elements

P. M. Williams and M. G. Edmunds
Science Progress (1933-)
Vol. 61, No. 243 (Autumn 1974), pp. 323-347
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43420252
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The abundances of the elements
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Abstract

The last decade has seen very considerable progress in the measurement and interpretation of the abundances of the elements. While the Apollo missions have given us direct access to lunar material, improvements in basic spectroscopic data and our understanding of the solar atmosphere have led to significantly more reliable solar abundance determinations. The observations are being used, with meteoritic and terrestrial abundances, to test theories of the origin of the elements and the formation and history of the solar system. The introduction of high-speed computers has led to the first realistic models of stars' atmospheres, and the accurate interpretation of stellar spectra. Stars' compositions give us otherwise unobtainable information about their structure and evolution, particularly when we see evidence of radioactive elements which must have been made in the stars' interiors. The comparison of stellar compositions with their ages and motions in space has told us a great deal about the history of the Galaxy. New observational techniques are now giving us our first real information on the compositions of other galaxies, and quasars.

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