Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

In quest of the cosmic origins of silver: Silver and gold materialized in different stellar explosions

Date:
September 6, 2012
Source:
Heidelberg, Universität
Summary:
In the quest for the cosmic origins of heavy elements, a researcher has established that silver can only have materialized during the explosion of clearly defined types of star. These are different from the kind of stars producing gold when they explode. The evidence for this comes from the measurement of various high-mass stars with the help of which the stepwise evolution of the components of all matter can be reconstructed.

At the end of their lives, stars with ten times the mass of our sun explode as so-called supernovae. In the process, elements like silver are either hurled out into the universe or produced in the first place. The illustration is an artist’s impression of the first moments of such an explosion before the star is completely torn apart.
Credit: European Southern Observatory/ESO

In the quest for the cosmic origins of heavy elements, Heidelberg scientist Dr. Camilla Hansen has established that silver can only have materialised during the explosion of clearly defined types of star. These are different from the kind of stars producing gold when they explode. The evidence for this comes from the measurement of various high-mass stars with the help of which the stepwise evolution of the components of all matter can be reconstructed.

Related Articles


The findings from the investigations conducted by Dr. Hansen of Heidelberg University's Centre for Astronomy (ZAH) in conjunction with other scientists in Germany and fellow astronomers in Japan and Sweden have been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The lightweight elements hydrogen, helium and traces of lithium came into being a few minutes after the Big Bang. All heavier elements materialised later in the interior of stars or during star explosions, with each generation of stars contributing a little to enriching the universe with chemical elements. The elements a star can generate in its lifetime depend largely on its mass. At the end of their lives, stars about ten times the size of our sun explode as so-called supernovae, producing elements sometimes heavier than iron that are released by the explosion. Depending on how heavy the star originally was, silver and gold can also materialise in this way.

When various stars of the same mass explode, the ratio of elements generated and hurled out into the universe is identical. This constant relation is perpetuated in the subsequent generations of stars forming from the remnants of their predecessors. The investigations by Dr. Hansen and her associated scientists have now demonstrated that the amount of silver in the stars measured is completely independent of the amounts of other heavy elements like gold. These observations indicate clearly for the first time that during a supernova silver takes shape in an entirely different fusion process from that in which gold forms. Accordingly, the scientists contend that silver cannot have originated together with gold. The elements must have materialised from stars of different masses.

"This is the first incontrovertible evidence for a special fusion process taking place during the explosion of a star," says Dr. Hansen. "Up to now this had been mere speculation. After this discovery, we must now use simulations of these processes in supernova explosions to investigate more precisely when the conditions for the formation of silver are present. That way we can find out how heavy the stars were that could produce silver during their dramatic demise."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Heidelberg, Universität. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. J. Hansen, F. Primas, H. Hartman, K.-L. Kratz, S. Wanajo, B. Leibundgut, K. Farouqi, O. Hallmann, N. Christlieb, H. Nilsson. Silver and palladium help unveil the nature of a second r-process. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2012; 545: A31 DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201118643

Cite This Page:

Heidelberg, Universität. "In quest of the cosmic origins of silver: Silver and gold materialized in different stellar explosions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906074025.htm>.
Heidelberg, Universität. (2012, September 6). In quest of the cosmic origins of silver: Silver and gold materialized in different stellar explosions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906074025.htm
Heidelberg, Universität. "In quest of the cosmic origins of silver: Silver and gold materialized in different stellar explosions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906074025.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — More than a year after NASA declared the Kepler spacecraft broken beyond repair, scientists have figured out how to continue getting useful data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 16, 2014) — NASA's Mars Curiosity rover finds methane in the Martian atmosphere and organic chemicals in the planet's soil, the latest hint that Mars was once suitable for microbial life. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins