curve of growth

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A method for determining the temperature and chemical abundances of stellar atmospheres. From the different profiles of weak and strong absorption lines of a given element, a diagram can be constructed showing how the equivalent linewidths increase (or ‘grow’) from weak to strong. The shape of this diagram is related to the total abundance of the element. The technique has now largely been superseded by computer-modelling of stellar atmospheres.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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