Fr.: métallicité critique
The → metallicity of a → star-forming → molecular cloud when → cooling → rates by → metals dominate the → gravitational → heating during → protostellar collapse. The minimum → Jeans mass achieved by gravitational → fragmentation depends on the presence/absence of → coolants in the cloud. Since cooling rate in metal lines is more efficient than in primordial molecular lines (H2 and HD), metals favor fragmentation in gas and formation of → low-mass stars.
Fr.: environnement faible en métaux
A medium in which chemical elements have abundances smaller than the solar values.
In a star, nebula, or galaxy, the proportion of the material that is made up of
→ metals, that is elements heavier than → helium.
It is generally denoted by Z.
The term "metallicity" is a misnomer used in astrophysics.
metallicity distribution function (MDF)
karyâ-ye vâbâžeš-e felezigi
Fr.: fonction de distribution de métallicité
Fr.: gradient de métallicité
The decrease in the → abundances of → heavy elements in a → disk galaxy as a function of distance from the center. Radial metallicity gradients are observed in many galaxies, including the → Milky Way and other galaxies of the → Local Group. In the case of the Milky Way, several objects can be used to determine the gradients: → H II regions, → B stars, → Cepheids, → open clusters, and → planetary nebulae. The main diagnostic elements are oxygen, sulphur, neon, and argon in photoionized nebulae, and iron and other elements in Cepheids, open clusters, and stars. Cepheids are probably the most accurate indicators of abundance gradients in the Milky Way. They are bright enough to be observed at large distances, so that accurate distances and spectroscopic abundances of several elements can be obtained. Average abundance gradients are generally between -0.03 → dex/kpc and -0.10 dex/kpc, with a a flattening out of the gradients at large galactocentric distances (≥ 10 kpc). The existence of these gradients offers the opportunity to test models of → chemical evolution of galaxies and stellar → nucleosynthesis.
Fr.: métallicité solaire
The proportion of the solar matter made up of → chemical elements heavier than → helium. It is denoted by Z, which represents the sum of all elements heavier than → helium, in mass fraction. The most recent determination of the solar Z gives a value of 0.0134 (Asplund et al. 2009, ARAA 47, 481), corresponding to the present-day photospheric composition.