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The Galactic Interstellar Medium

  • Françoise Combes
  • Patrick Boissé
  • Alain Mazure
  • Alain Blanchard
Chapter
Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)

Abstract

Galaxies are formed mainly of stars, but these stars are immersed in a relatively diffuse and cold gaseous medium. Its density is on average of the order of 1 particle per cm3, 10 cm−3 in clouds of atomic hydrogen, and 1000 cm−3 in molecular clouds. Its temperature goes from 5 K in these latter regions up to 104 K in ionized regions heated by young stars. Hydrogen forms the bulk of the interstellar gas, helium around 25%. Other elements are present in trace amounts. The interstellar gas is enriched by heavy elements ejected by stars (in supernova explosions and stellar winds).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Françoise Combes
    • 1
  • Patrick Boissé
    • 2
  • Alain Mazure
    • 3
  • Alain Blanchard
    • 4
  1. 1.Observatoire de ParisDEMIRMParisFrance
  2. 2.Ecole Normale SupérieureParis Cedex 5France
  3. 3.GRAAL, Université de Montpellier IIMontpellier Cedex 5France
  4. 4.Observatoire de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

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