Astronomers have found a likely source of heavy elements in the Universe

Heavy elements such as gold, platinum and uranium, may be formed in black holes are explored — a rapidly rotating massive stars that quanta collapse into the dark black holes, when their outer layers explode in a rare type of supernova. The disk of material orbiting the new black hole for its power, can create the conditions necessary for astronomical alchemy the press release of a new study by scientists from Columbia University published by the portal Science News. The full version of the report accepted for publication by the journal Nature.

“Black holes produced in such extreme conditions – even those fussy eaters”, says study co-author and astrophysicist Brian Metzger of Columbia University.

Scientists conducted a computer simulation shows that in “one sitting” they are ways to “eat” a certain amount of matter, and what “disdain,” posted the cosmic wind, rich with neutrons. This environment has suitable conditions for the creation of heavy elements, the researchers note.

Science has long puzzled over how the heavy elements in the Universe. Lighter such as carbon, oxygen and iron are formed inside stars, and then erupt in stellar explosions — supernovae. But to create elements lower in the periodic table, requires extreme environments, densely Packed neutrons. In this environment can occur a chain of reactions known as r-process, in which atomic nuclei rapidly absorb neutrons and undergo radioactive decay with the formation of new elements.

Previously, scientists assumed that in the collision of two dead stars (neutron) r-process can occur in the material, blown merger. This assumption was confirmed when astronomers first witnessed the collision of two neutron starsthat gave rise to the surge of space-time known as gravitational waves, and light. The cosmic fireworks showed signs of the formation of the mixture of heavy elements, including gold, silver and platinum.


However, explanations involving neutron stars there are some gaps. The merger of these dead stars can be quite long. At the same time, scientists have detected the presence of heavy elements in ancient stars that formed at the dawn of the history of the Universe. It’s unclear if a merger of these astronomical objects to occur fast enough to explain the presence of elements in these early stars.

The black holes are explored in turn can be much faster, almost at the stage of star formation. And this phenomenon can be an effective manufacturer of heavy elements, said group Metzger. As noted by Metzger himself, one collapsar is able to generate 30 times more r-process than the merging of neutron stars. The researchers reported that the black holes are explored can be responsible for 80% of the elements of the r-process in the Universe, and merging neutron stars for the rest of the remaining.

The findings of a new study scientists offer new ways to look at opening in 2016, when astronomers found that dwarf galaxy called the Reticulum II experienced a cataclysm in the early history of the Universe, who left the r-process in its stars. It had been made the assumption that it is the fusion of ancient neutron stars has become a source of heavy elements in the Universe. The results of recent studies suggest new candidate for the role of this source – black holes are explored.

Astrophysicist Anna Frobel from mit, one of the authors of the study in 2016, agreed with the conclusions of the research group, Metzger.

“It’s very exciting. The merger of neutron stars are rare, so I thought we won the lottery. But black holes are explored are about 10 times less, so if they explain it, it seems that we won the lottery twice”, — says the scientist.

Scientists still do not know how often there are black holes are explored and whether they are able to produce the quantity of material, which could explain the abundance of heavy elements that is observed in our Universe.

“I think the verdict is to stand still before,” — said astrophysicist Alexander g from the Observatory of the Carnegie institution in Pasadena (California, USA), the second co-author of the study in 2016.

Now scientists want to understand the black holes are explored or neutron stars to better explain the behavior of galaxies similar to Reticulum II, and the formation of heavy elements. Further observing the effects of a supernova caused by black holes are explored, will also help to better define their role in this matter.