Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, Ricardo Amils, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, William M. Irvine, Daniele L. Pinti, Michel Viso

Solar Neighborhood

  • Leticia CarigiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_1460



Chemical elements, exoplanets, Milky Way, stellar populations, Sun


The Solar neighborhood is the space associated with a cylinder centered at the Sun and perpendicular to the  Milky Way disk. This Solar Cylinder is located at ∼8 kpc from the Galactic center, with a radius of 1 kpc. Hence, the Solar vicinity includes diverse physical entities that belong to the Galactic disk and halo, such as planets; stars of different masses, ages, and evolutionary stages,  interstellar medium and HII regions, amongst others.


The Solar neighborhood contains mostly baryonic matter (stars and gas); the amount of dark matter is negligible inside it. The total mass surface density is roughly 50 M pc2, of which the stars take 80% and 20% is in gaseous material.

The Solar cylinder contains two main structures, first, a disk componentwhere approximately 95% of the total mass is found in Population I stars embedded in metal-rich gas....

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References and Further Reading

  1. Carigi L, Peimbert M (2010) HII regions and the protosolar helium, carbon, and oxygen abundances in the context of galactic chemical evolution. ApJ submitted (arXiv:1004.0756)Google Scholar
  2. Matteucci F (2001) The chemical evolution of the galaxy. Kluwer Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Pagel BEJ (2009) Nucleosynthesis and chemical evolution of galaxies. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  4. Sparke L, Gallagher J (2007) Galaxies in the universe: an introduction. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  5. The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. http://exoplanet.eu/

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma deMéxicoMéxico D.F.Mexico