Astrophysics (Index)About

signatures of formation

(qualities of a body that suggest how it was formed)

The phrase signatures of formation is used to indicate observable or retrievable qualities, e.g., through spectroscopy and/or retrieval, that suggest how an astronomical entity was formed, such as a star, planet, stellar cluster, galaxy, or bulge. A long history might be suggested, i.e., a specific sequence of events leading to specific abundances.

A simple example is the uniformity of abundances in the solar system, including the Sun, that suggest what we see formed together from a single cloud and event.

Further reading: