Populations I and II Stars

Stars may be classified by their heavy element abundance, which correlates with their age and the type of galaxy in which they are found.

Population I stars include the sun and tend to be luminous, hot and young, concentrated in the disks of spiral galaxies. They are particularly found in the spiral arms. With the model of heavy element formation in supernovae, this suggests that the gas from which they formed had been seeded with the heavy elements formed from previous giant stars. About 2% of the total belong to Population I.

Population II stars tend to be found in globular clusters and the nucleus of a galaxy. They tend to be older, less luminous and cooler than Population I stars. They have fewer heavy elements, either by being older or being in regions where no heavy-element producing predecessors would be found. Astronomers often describe this condition by saying that they are "metal poor", and the "metallicity" is used as an indication of age.


Star concepts

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