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New calculations of Solar spectrum resolve decade-long controversy about the Sun's chemical composition

Astronomers have resolved the decade-long solar abundance crisis: the conflict between the internal structure of the Sun as determined from solar oscillations (helioseismology) and the structure derived from the fundamental theory of stellar evolution, which in turn relies on measurements of the present-day Sun's chemical composition. New calculations of the physics of the Sun's atmosphere yield updated results for abundances of different chemical elements, which resolve the conflict. Notably, the Sun contains more oxygen, silicon and neon than previously thought. The methods employed also promise considerably more accurate estimates of the chemical compositions of stars in general.

The image shows two coloured structures each and are labelled "California Cloud" and "Orion A".  The structure in the upper left appears elongated with a small bubble underneath. The structure at the bottom right looks similar to the image on the left.

Astronomers solve the mystery of the different star formation activities of two similar-looking dust clouds by reconstructing their 3D shapes more

Artistic impression of a planet-forming disk

The demographics of hundreds of planet-forming disks within a thousand light-years reveal how their masses vary with age more

Multi-million euro grants from Brussels

12 Max Planck researchers win coveted ERC Advanced Grants more

The exciting teenage years of our Milky Way galaxy

Using a unique new data set, Maosheng Xiang and Hans-Walter Rix (both Max Planck Institute for Astronomy) have provided the best reconstruction yet of what could be termed the exciting teenage years of our home galaxy: the period between about 13 and 8 billion years ago when the Milky Way lived hard and fast, merging with other galaxies and consuming plenty of hydrogen to form new stars – before settling down to amore quiet life for the subsequent 8 billion years to the present. The analysis became possible through reconstructingstellar ages of Milky Way starswith unprecedented precision, drawing onrecent sky survey data. The results have now been published in the journal Nature. more

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