Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kinds of Interstellar Matter

Kinds of Interstellar Matter
The matter in space between stars comes in several different forms. Each type comes in regions of differing sizes and has different densities and temperatures. In the second line HI stands for neutral hydrogen, or hydrogen atoms with one proton and one electron.
Average                 Density

Diffuse gas
0.001 to 0.1 particles per cm3
10 to 106 K
Size of the galaxy
HI clouds
10 to 100 particles per cm3
80 to 120 K
Several parsecs
Several hundred solar masses
103 to 106 particles per cm3
10 K
Several light-years (maximum of 15 light-years)
10 to 100 solar masses
Molecular clouds
100 particles per cm3
10 K
Several tens of light-years to many tens of parsecs
100 to 106 solar masses

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