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Abundance in the sun

These data reflect the average composition of the sun and are determined by non-trivial spectroscopic methods. Units are parts per billion by weight. Values in other suns (stars) will differ from those given here.

image showing Abundance in the sun: f-block periodicity for the f-block chemical elements

image showing Abundance in the sun: f-block logs periodicity for the f-block chemical elements


ppb by weight


Data given in different sources vary somewhat, reflecting the difficulty in assessing these numbers. Values given here are estimates derived by a consensus and averaging process for data abstracted from references 1-4.

The units used in WebElements for all abundance data are ppb by weight which means parts per billion by weight, that is mg tonne-3 or mg per 1000 kg. All abundance data are also presented as ppb by atoms, which means atoms of the element per billion atoms.

The reason for rescaling all data is as follows. It is common to see, say, solar abundances expressed as the number of atoms of the element relative to a scale upon which the abundance of hydrogen is defined as 1012. This makes comparison with, say, crustal abundances difficult, since crustal abundances are often expressed in terms of parts per million by weight. Hence a common scale is used throughout and I chose ppb as this gives manageable numbers for most elements.

For access to other abundance data as ppb by weight, select from:

For access to other abundance data as ppb by atoms, select from:

Literature sources

  1. G.W.C. Kaye and T.H. Laby in Tables of physical and chemical constants, Longman, London, UK, 15th edition, 1993.
  2. P.A. Cox in The Elements : Their Origin, Abundance, and Distribution, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 1989.
  3. McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, 7th ed., 1992, McGraw-Hill, New York, USA.
  4. J. Selbin, J. Chem. Ed. 1973, 50, 306.