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(this question was originally posted in an answer by user PSR-1937-21 to another post. I find it an interesting one, but since they don't seem to be active anymore, I'm posting it to see if somebody knows the answer.)

From how mass is usually distributed, it seems reasonable that metallicity would be lower in the outskirts of the galaxy. If the metallicity is lower, would that allow for larger stars to form? (see for instance "Why is metallicity important in the death of stars?"). Maybe there is a larger Jeans mass due to warmer clouds, the result of less efficient radiation of thermal energy?

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  • $\begingroup$ I did not find any clear hits when I did a cursory search for the Milky Way, but this paper aanda.org/articles/aa/abs/2009/42/aa12138-09/aa12138-09.html suggests that the metallicity of stars decreases outwards for the LMC, is roughly constant for the SMC, and might be "inside out" for M33. $\endgroup$ – Anders Sandberg May 24 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ There's no evidence that the Initial Mass Function (how many stars of what mass are formed) varies with location within the Milky Way, which suggests that you wouldn't get larger stars preferentially forming in lower-metallicity environments. $\endgroup$ – Peter Erwin May 28 at 14:45

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