Back to Volume
Paper: Measuring Abundance Ratios from Integrated Light
Volume: 423, Galaxy Wars: Star Formation and Stellar Populations in Interacting Galaxies
Page: 157
Authors: Worthey, G.
Abstract: Age, overall abundance, and detailed, element-by-element abundances can be extracted from the integrated light of distant galaxies. The method, at its most basic, is merely the comparison of observed spectra with appropriate models. The relative ratios of elements C, N, O, Na, Mg, Ca, Sc, Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Sr, and Ba can be determined to scientifically useful precision. Cases of interest that are borderline because they suffer internal degeneracies (although plenty of signal is present) are Al and the trio C, N, and O. The elements S, K, Cu, Eu, and the noble gases are too difficult to measure, and V is borderline. Changing the relative abundance ratios, even at fixed heavy-element content, changes the temperatures, luminosities, and number densities of the underlying stellar evolution, as well as more direct changes in the spectra of the stars present. The latter effects dominate the spectral shape, while the former effects render age estimation quite difficult.
Back to Volume