According to a new study, the gold, uranium, and other heavy metals found in the Universe are mostly due to the spinning collapsing stars. The Universe possesses three light elements named hydrogen, helium and lithium that were originated during the early days of the cosmos and some minutes before or after the Big Bang. The elements like iron found in the periodic table were later found forged in the cores of the stars. However, the mystery behind formation of heavy elements such as gold and uranium which are heavier than iron as well is still mindboggling. The earlier studies have found the atomic nuclei’s quick neutron absorption process to be the clue. It is also known as r-process.
In 2019, even after the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the periodic table, there is still so much more to be understood about how the heavy elements present in the Universe came into existence. According to a Theoretical Physicist Daniel Siegel from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, the elements such as gold and uranium plus some rare-earth metals are nowadays used in the portable electronics. In 2017, the LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave observatories helped astronomers detect a collision between neutron stars amid the ripples in the framework of space and time.
The superdense neutron-rich debris of huge stars that died in cataclysmic bombardments is known as supernovas. The researchers used the gravitational-wave discovery to propose that nearly all r-process elements were copied in the shell of material ejected off of assimilating neutron stars. The neutron-star collision generally results in a black hole. The accretion disk of debris formed on the borders of the black hole was suggested to be the dominant source of r-process elements after the merger. The computer simulations helped understand that the collapsars which are rarer than neutron-star mergers are the source of expelling more r-process elements than neutron-star collisions.