SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Meghnad Saha (1894-1956). Portrait of the Indian astrophysicist Meghnad Saha. Saha is well known for his work on stellar atmospheres. Absorption lines in the spectra of stars were known to show various elemental abundances. Some spectra showed only hydrogen and helium lines and others showed numerous metal lines. In 1920 Saha demonstrated that this did not necessarily reflect a real variation in elemental composition but a different degree of ionisation of the metal atoms. The degree of ionisation is related to the temperature of the star by the famous Saha's equation.
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