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Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between population I and population II stars according to their locations, motions, heavy-element abundances, and ages
  • Explain why the oldest stars in the Galaxy are poor in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, while stars like the Sun and even younger stars are typically richer in these heavy elements

In the first section of his chapter, we described the thin disk, thick disk, and stellar halo. Look back at [link] and note some of the patterns. Young stars lie in the thin disk, are rich in metals, and orbit the Galaxy’s center at high speed. The stars in the halo are old, have low abundances of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, and have highly elliptical orbits randomly oriented in direction (see [link] ). Halo stars can plunge through the disk and central bulge, but they spend most of their time far above or below the plane of the Galaxy. The stars in the thick disk are intermediate between these two extremes. Let’s first see why age and heavier-element abundance are correlated and then see what these correlations tell us about the origin of our Galaxy.

How objects orbit the galaxy.

Orbital Motions in the Milky Way. In panel (a), at top and labeled “Thin Disk”, shows the orbits of stars as blue concentric ellipses centered on a + sign indicating the galactic center. The orbits are in the same plane, labeled “Galactic plane”. In panel (b), at bottom and labeled: “Halo”, shows the orbits of stars as blue ellipses of many different sizes and orientations extending above and below the galactic plane and centered on a + sign indicating the galactic center.
(a) In this image, you see stars in the thin disk of our Galaxy in nearly circular orbits. (b) In this image, you see the motion of stars in the Galaxy’s halo in randomly oriented and elliptical orbits.

Two kinds of stars

The discovery that there are two different kinds of stars was first made by Walter Baade during World War II. As a German national, Baade was not allowed to do war research as many other U.S.-based scientists were doing, so he was able to make regular use of the Mount Wilson telescopes in southern California. His observations were aided by the darker skies that resulted from the wartime blackout of Los Angeles.

Among the things a large telescope and dark skies enabled Baade to examine carefully were other galaxies—neighbors of our Milky Way Galaxy. We will discuss other galaxies in the next chapter ( Galaxies ), but for now we will just mention that the nearest Galaxy that resembles our own (with a similar disk and spiral structure) is often called the Andromeda galaxy , after the constellation in which we find it.

Baade was impressed by the similarity of the mainly reddish stars in the Andromeda galaxy’s nuclear bulge to those in our Galaxy’s globular clusters and the halo. He also noted the difference in color between all these and the bluer stars found in the spiral arms near the Sun ( [link] ). On this basis, he called the bright blue stars in the spiral arms population I and all the stars in the halo and globular clusters population II .

Andromeda galaxy (m31).

Visible Light Image of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). The nearest large spiral galaxy to the Milky Way is slightly tilted from edge-on, allowing us to view the blue spiral arms as well as strong dust lanes that block some of the light from the central bulge.
This neighboring spiral looks similar to our own Galaxy in that it is a disk galaxy with a central bulge. Note the bulge of older, yellowish stars in the center, the bluer and younger stars in the outer regions, and the dust in the disk that blocks some of the light from the bulge. (credit: Adam Evans)

We now know that the populations differ not only in their locations in the Galaxy, but also in their chemical composition, age, and orbital motions around the center of the Galaxy. Population I stars are found only in the disk and follow nearly circular orbits around the galactic center. Examples are bright supergiant stars, main-sequence stars of high luminosity (spectral classes O and B), which are concentrated in the spiral arms, and members of young open star clusters. Interstellar matter and molecular clouds are found in the same places as population I stars.

Questions & Answers

why the dark side of moon never face us? because moon dont rotate? why tho
Rishabh Reply
im in 8th standard and my school teach us nothing about astronomy but i want to be an astronomer so i study from youtube and apps like this but sometimes i get language problems
Rishabh
dark**
Glory
side**
Glory
The Moon does actually rotate. It takes 27 days for the Moon to make a full rotation. Because it takes it so long and the Earth is rotating around the sun, it seems like the Moon is pretty much standing still. That's called "synchronous rotation".
steveh259
I ment to say "The Earth is orbiting around the sun"
steveh259
Tidal Locked.....
Adam
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
thats cool
Gospel
ya gives you a look at how the moon orbits around us too and a perspective of how fast we are going. also gives the moon phases for the year! enjoy 😁
Collins
what phases of the moon occurs when spring tide?
Florence Reply
the moon has a 28 day cycle. you can download a moon calander or follow the pattern and make your own calendar. 1st full moon of the year 21/22nd Jan, its also a blood moon and a wolf moon. if this info helps at all. 😊
Collins
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
How to determine the velocity of light?
PARTHIB Reply
what is mean by Big Bang
block Reply
What it means by Big Bang is how the world was made and came in to exist
Glory
The Big Bang Is The Best Explanation For What We See Around Us, And For The Origin Of The Universe, All Our Evidence Points To The Big Bang Theory..... And Was Proposed By A Belgian Priest.....
Adam
if the big bang theory is really true than i would like to know what exploded and where did it came from and where did the energy came from and where come from for the matter to expand into amd where did the organization come from and where did the information come from.........
Gospel
Some say that on the otherside of the singularity was a black hole. They say that at the other end of all black holes is another universe. Hence the multiverse. It's all theoretical at this point but less than a 100 years ago people believed that there was only 1 galaxy in the universe. So why
Rafael
should there be only 1 universe?
Rafael
universe.
Rafael
is astronomy a hard subject to learn because i want to be an astronomer
FNAF Reply
No it not it just takes time and effort to learn
Glory
if your already interested/observing, your already an astronomer ! The more you look and read the more you'll learn.
Collins
I want to become a scientist but my knowledge is very low. How I can improve my knowledge?
Wwe
any form of science courses, there's free crash course channel on you tube. I've learned alot from this channel. covers most topics, science: biology chemistry physics, astronomy, ranges to anatomy, history and many many more. it's a never ending subject!
Collins
suggest a channel as a example
Wwe
CrashCourse is the name of the channel and there is a picture of an apple. look through their play lists. They will have other related channels they follow also.
Collins
thank you so much
Wwe
your very welcome
Collins
Why are they so far away that their light takes hundreds of millions of years to reach us on earth?
LadyCatTM Reply
what is comets , astroids ,
Sumit Reply
comets are broken pieces of dust frozen debris Asteroids are big soiled pieces of Ice that burst into flames when it in to earth's atmosphere
Glory
hi, I am yamini, I am in class 8 but very much interested in astronomy and go to NASA, what are the subjects in which I can master and lead to NASA.
yamini Reply
Hello Yamini, Im Ken and I'm avery intrested in joining the NASA too. Is nice to meet you.
Ken
very*
Ken
nice to meet u ken
yamini
What I know about the subjects is that you have to be a master on science and math, also if you know about aviation is better too
Ken
I read that the Russian language is very important, is not a requirement but it's like an extra point!
Ken
yeah like physics, chemistry and maths, they are my most favorite.
yamini
than you can go free of cost
Arush
Yes, That's right!
Ken
how
yamini
Oh! Free of cost?
Ken
hello yamini nice to meet you
Burak
wow from NASA ur so lucky
FNAF
hello yamini nice to meet you
block
what is time
Abdul Reply
Time is relative
mrunal
pls elaborate
sakshi
the clear defination.I know that.
Abdul
In planet mars there the life exits or not and is there water there
Eshwarsa Reply
see till now nothing can be found as u know that the curiosity rover has struck in mars
Maya
It has been proven that there are water molecules on Mars but not enough that most lifeforms could thrive upon.
Ariana
There are huge amounts of water in the ice caps and under the surface. The surface and chemistry indicate that Mars had cosiderable amounts of water on its surface in the past.
Julius
what is your opinion about the theory of Vedas about modern physics..
Manish Reply
i think in some ways vedas are also correct but not everytime
Maya
I agree
sakshi
hmm even I agree
Samuel
Is there any patened theory about time relativitg in growth and development?
donot Reply
some astronomer's says that there is no alien exist but why search for extra terrestrial intelligence center is established
Eshwarsa Reply
No One Knows That For Absolute Fact, The Universe Is Too Huge To Have Any Type Of Idea About What Exist In The Far Reaches Of Our Universe.....
Adam
Check Out The Drake Equation.....
Adam
their should be aliens as like ours there would be another planet
Maya
which could have existed life on it
Maya
adam i want to ask a question
Maya
can kepler 1st law be applied on all the planets of the universe
Maya
hello, anyone home?
Denise
guys listen we cannot ever find aliens because our technology is not that great.we don't know whether they exist or no because our universe is very large . Just for an example;even if we spot out aliens we cannot reach there because lot of time must have been passed and before us reaching there
Samuel
what if their species or existence might get vanished our have been extinct!! getting my point
Samuel
sjskskfhjkkktewqqw and try?
Lanika Reply
what is this ?
Samuel
hi I am Samuel from India mumbai
Samuel
nice to meet you
Samuel
thats my question, what is this?
penzias and wilson's a discovery of the cosmic microwave background is a nice example of scientific serendipity-something that is found by chance but turns out to have a positive outcome
Jacqueline Reply
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, Astronomy. OpenStax CNX. Apr 12, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11992/1.13
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