The most common element
in the universe
is hydrogen followed by helium. Stars are made primarily of these two elements. Heavier elements are formed through fusion. The heaviest elements (elements with a mass
greater than that of iron) are formed during the super nova explosion of massive stars.
Notice that the y-axis
of the graph
is a logarithmic function. Logarithms are used to make enormous numbers, like 1 x 1023
, into more manageable numbers, like 23 and 1 x 1024
into 24. The important thing to remember about logarithms is that each increase in number is a 10-fold increase. On a log scale, the number 24 is TEN times bigger than the number 23.
For example, the Richter scale, well known for measuring the severity of earthquakes, is a logarithmic scale. An earthquake
that measures an 8 on the Richter scale
is 10 times more devastating than a quake that measures 7 on the Richter scale. Keep that in mind as you answer the following questions.