“Undiscovered phenomenon” – the mystery of gold in the universe

neutron star Collision

Biologists say that sunlight is the most precious gold on Earth. But for astronomers, the discovery of the source of the amount of gold present in the universe continues despite recent hypotheses that most of the precious metal was formed by neutron star collisions. On August 17, 2017, the first observation of a gravitational wave signal lasting about 100 seconds by two colliding neutron stars LIGO and Virgo detector shocked the world’s astronomy community.

This phenomenon, labeled GW170817, sent gravitational waves that ripple through space that were detected by orbiting telescopes around the world. It was the first event to be detected by gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves, including gamma rays, X-rays, visible light, and radio waves.

Secret of missing gold

A new analysis of the evolution of the galaxy reveals that stellar collisions do not make up the amount of chemical elements already assumed. Research also suggests that current models cannot explain the amount of gold in the universe – creating an astronomical mystery. This work has produced a new periodic table, showing the stellar origin of naturally occurring elements ranging from carbon to uranium, including traces of gold.

All the hydrogen in the universe – including each of its molecules on Earth – was produced in the Big Bang, producing much helium and lithium, but not much else. The rest of the naturally occurring elements are formed by atomic processes occurring inside the wires. Which elements are actually lattices of mass, but they are all released into galaxies at the last moments of each star – explosively, in the case of really large ones, or as dense outflows, similar to solar wind. For people in the same orbit as the Sun. .

Stars as giant pressure cooker

“We can think of stars as giant pressure cookers,” said Associate Professor Amanda Karakas, co-author of Australia’s ARC Center of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in all three dimensions (ASTRO 3-D). “The reactions that make up these elements also provide energy that keeps the stars shining for billions of years. As stars age, they produce heavier and heavier elements as heat is produced inside them. “

“Dark hearts of black hearts” – new mergers of black holes and neutron stars

Unseen Stellar Processes

Half of all the elements that are heavier than iron – such as thorium and uranium – were formed when neutron stars, superdances of the burnt sun, collided with each other. Long-attested until 2017, the collision of the neutron star was not confirmed. Now, however, the latest analysis conducted by Caracas and fellow astronomers Chiaki Kobayashi and Maria Lugaro suggests that the role of neutron stars would have largely been eliminated — and that another stellar process is entirely responsible. Producing most of the heavy elements.

Caracas said, “The neutron star merger did not create enough heavy elements in the early life of the universe, and they still do not, 14 billion years later”. “The universe has not made them fast enough for its presence in very ancient stars, and overall, there is not enough collision going on around today to account for the abundance of these elements.”

Instead, the researchers found that heavier elements must be formed by a completely different kind of stellar phenomena – unusual supernovas that rotate at high speeds and produce strong magnetic fields. The discovery is one of several to emerge from his research, which has recently been published in the Astrophysical Journal. His study is the first time the first origin of all naturally occurring elements from carbon to uranium has been calculated from first principles.

New modeling

The new modeling, the researchers say, will drastically change the currently accepted model of how the universe evolved. “For example, we built this new model to explain all the elements at once, and found not enough silver but enough gold.” Author from Kobayashi, University of Hertfordshire in UK.

“Silver is produced more, but gold is produced in the model compared with the observations. This means that we may need to identify a new type of stellar explosion or nuclear reaction. The study refines previous studies that calculate the relative roles of star mass, age, and order in the production of elements. For example, researchers established that stars about eight times smaller than the mass of the sun produce carbon, nitrogen, and fluorine, with half of all elements being heavier than iron. Around eight times the stars of the Sun’s mass, which also explode at the end of their lives as supernovas, produce many elements from carbon through iron, including most of the oxygen and calcium needed for life.

“Apart from hydrogen, there is no single element that can be formed from only one type of star,” Kobayashi explained.

“Half of the carbon is produced from low-mass stars, but the other half comes from supernovae. And half of the iron comes from the normal supernova of big stars, but the other half requires another form, known as a type IA supernova. These are produced in binary systems of low-mass stars. ”

Couples of gravitationally bound stars can, by contrast, turn into neutron stars. When they collide, the effect produces some of the heaviest elements found in nature, including gold.

A surprise with strong magnetic fields -Supernova

“Even the most optimistic estimate of the frequency of neutron star collisions cannot account for the abundance of these elements in the universe,” Karkas said. “It was a surprise. It seems that spinning supernovas with strong magnetic fields is the real source of most of these elements. ”

“New discoveries are expected from nuclear facilities around the world, including Europe, America and Japan, currently targeting rare nuclei associated with the neutron star merger,” co-author Dr. Said Maria Lugro, which is located at the Konkoli Observatory in Hungary. Monash University of Australia. “The properties of these nuclei are unknown, but they control the production of heavy element abundance. The missing gold astronomical problem can actually be solved by a nuclear physics experiment. ”

Researchers believed that future research could find that neutron star collisions are far more persistent than evidence so far, in this case re-contributing to elements that make up everything from mobile phone screens to fuel for nuclear reactors. Can be modified from.

The Daily Galaxy, Sam Cabot via Monash University and Eureklert and ASTRO 3D

Image Credit Top of Page: Neutron Star Merger NSF / LIGO / Sonoma State University / A. Simonnet