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Elemental Abundances

The observed elemental abundances in the Solar System are given in the table at the bottom of this page as the number of atoms of the listed element divided by the number of the hydrogen atoms. The error in the measured elemental abundance is given as a percentage of the derived value. The condensation temperature is given for those elements that are known to condense. All values give in the following table are derived from Newson (1995).[1]

The abundances of elements in the solar system carry the signature of thermonuclear fusion within stars. While the most abundant elements are hydrogen (H) and helium (He), reflecting the equilibrium composition of the early universe, the high abundances of carbon (C), oxygen (O), neon (Ne), and magnesium (Mg) reflect the stages of nuclear fusion involving the conversion of helium into heavier elements, while the high abundance of nitrogen (N) reflects the CNO process of hydrogen fusion, which converts carbon and oxygen into nitrogen (Go to table).

Solar Abundances

Z

Chemical
Symbol

Solar
Fraction of H

Error (%)

Asteroid
Fraction of H

Error (%)

T (°K)

1

H

1

2

He

9.75×10−2

8.4

3

Li

1.45×10−11

30.0

2.05×10−9

9.2

1225

4

Be

1.41×10−11

26.0

2.62×10−12

9.5

5

B

4.00×10−10

100.0

7.60×10−10

10.0

6

C

3.62×10−4

9.6

7

N

1.12×10−4

9.6

8

O

8.53×10−4

8.4

9

F

3.02×10−8

100.0

3.63×10−8

15.0

736

10

Ne

1.23×10−4

14.0

11

Na

2.14×10−6

7.0

2.06×10−6

7.1

970

12

Mg

3.80×10−5

12.0

3.85×10−5

3.8

1340

13

Al

2.95×10−6

17.0

3.04×10−6

3.6

1650

14

Si

3.55×10−5

12.0

3.58×10−5

4.4

1311

15

P

2.82×10−7

10.0

3.73×10−7

10.0

1151

16

S

1.62×10−5

15.0

1.85×10−5

13.0

648

17

Cl

3.00×10−7

100.0

1.88×10−7

15.0

863

18

Ar

3.62×10−6

6.0

19

K

1.32×10−7

35.0

1.35×10−7

7.7

1000

20

Ca

2.29×10−6

5.0

2.19×10−6

7.1

1518

21

Sc

1.26×10−9

23.0

1.23×10−9

8.6

1644

22

Ti

9.77×10−8

5.0

8.60×10−8

5.0

1549

23

V

1.00×10−8

5.0

1.05×10−8

5.1

1450

24

Cr

4.68×10−7

7.0

4.84×10−7

7.6

1277

25

Mn

2.45×10−7

7.0

3.42×10−7

9.6

1190

26

Fe

4.68×10−5

7.0

3.23×10−5

2.7

1336

27

Co

8.32×10−8

10.0

8.06×10−8

6.6

1351

28

Ni

1.78×10−6

10.0

1.77×10−6

5.1

1354

29

Cu

1.62×10−8

10.0

1.87×10−8

11.0

1037

30

Zn

3.98×10−8

20.0

4.52×10−8

4.4

825

31

Ga

7.59×10−10

26.0

1.35×10−9

6.9

918

32

Ge

2.57×10−9

38.0

4.27×10−9

9.6

825

[1] Newson, Horton E., “Composition of the Solar System, Planets, Meteorites, and Major Terrestrial Reservoirs.” In Global Earth Physics: A Handbook of Physical Constants edited by T.J. Ahrens, 159–189. AGU Reference Shelf, No. 1. Washington: American Geophysical Union, 1995.

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