Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Souped-up supernovas may be principal source of universe’s heavy elements

Violent explosions of massive, magnetized stars may forge most of the universe’s heavy elements, such as silver and uranium, ScienceNews reports. These r-process elements, which include half of all elements heavier than iron, are also produced when neutron stars merge. But collisions of those dead stars alone can’t form all of the process elements seen in the universe. Now, scientists have pinpointed a type of energetic supernova called a magnetorotational hypernova as another potential birthplace of these elements. The results, described July 7 in Nature, stem from the discovery of an elderly red giant star — possibly 13 billion years old — in the outer regions of the Milky Way. By analyzing the star’s elemental makeup, which is like a star’s genetic instruction book, astronomers peered back into the star’s family history. Forty-four different elements seen in the star suggest that it was formed from material left over “by a special explosion of one massive star soon after the Big Bang,” says astronomer David Yong of the Australian National University in Canberra.

 

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/star-explosion-hypernova-supernova-universe-heavy-elements-origin

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