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  How to bling out your astronomy articleJul 17, 2013 11:32 PM PDT | url
Added 2 new A* pages:This new article says that "a decade ago," European scientists suggested that a heavy element like gold, which can't be formed by fusion in a star, as lighter elements can be, could result instead from a collision between neutron stars (neutron stars are the cores of supernovae that weren't *quite* massive enough to form black holes); and just now, some astronomers have reported that an odd, days-long afterglow from a gamma-ray burst 3.9 billion light years away, picked up by NASA's Swift telescope, "suggested that heavy elements, including but not limited to gold, could have been produced by the incredibly rare, cosmic crash of the two dead stars."
Which is pretty neat, I suppose. I guess I always thought gold and the like just came from your average everyday supernova explosion, but apparently it is supposed to be more complicated than that! ... Hm well Wikipedia's article on supernova nucleosynthesis says that a "slow neutron capture process" called the "S-process," "primarily in low-mass stars that evolve more slowly" can fuse particles into elements up to the weight of bismuth, which would I guess include gold (bismuth is element 83, and gold is only 79), and that "production of elements from iron [element 26] to uranium [element 92] occurs within seconds in a supernova explosion." It doesn't name gold specifically, but that *does* sound pretty inclusive. So I dunno, maybe the mention of "gold" in that new article was just a way to attract attention to this new observation of what could have been a neutron star collision. : p
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