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No. 23: Sep-Oct 1982

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Where are the primordial stars?

Down the years, astronomers have been able to divide almost all stars into two groups: Population I, made up of young stars enriched by the products of their ancestors; and Population II, those relatively older ancestor stars containing more hydrogen and fewer heavier elements. Population I, according to present thinking, was formed out of the "ashes" of Population-II stars. What is missing from the picture are PopulationIII stars -- stars almost devoid of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, and formed while the Big Bang was still echoing throughout the cosmos. Current astrophysical theory requires "ashes" from Population III to create Population II. Do the astronomers find any primordial Population-III stars kicking around? Hardly a handful; not nearly enough to satisfy the prevailing model of stellar evolution. One explanation is that Population-III stars have been around long enough to collect a camouflaging veneer of metallic debris. Some astronomers surmise that Population-III stars are truly extinct for some unknown reason.

(Anonymous; "Where Is Population III?" Sky and Telescope, 64:19, 1982.)

From Science Frontiers #23, SEP-OCT 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987