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Homework Help: Astronomy iron ratios in galaxy

  1. Oct 16, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I understand that [Fe/H] ratios can be used to describe metallicity in a galaxy... but I'm having trouble understanding what [element/Fe] ratios should tell you.

    Anyone have an idea?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2014 #2


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    Any conjecture? Is there anything special about Fe that might nave to do wth it?
  4. Oct 17, 2014 #3
    Well, I'm assuming it has something to do with the fact that normal nucleosynthesis processes can't make elements past iron (nuclear fusion consumes rather than releases energy for heavier elements than iron, so the heavier elements are made in supernova or more energetic processes)

    am i heading in the right direction?
  5. Oct 17, 2014 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    How long does it take to produce iron?
  6. Oct 17, 2014 #5


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    I really don't know for sure as I am not knowledgeable about astrophysics, but it sounds a reasonable conjecture, which will help you latch on when you hear the official explanation which I hope will come here.

    As this forum is for chemistry and there isn't one specifically for astronomy homework, perhaps not everyone here knows that when astronomers say 'metals' they mean every element that is not H or He. :))
    I just thought you might like to know. :)
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
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