Astronomers say that a neutron-star collision produced about 10,000 Earth-masses of heavy elements, which also includes gold and platinum.
Approximately 130 million years ago, in some other galaxy, two neutrons stars spiraled closer and closer together to such an extent that they smashed into each other.
As a result of this collision, gravitational waves, cosmic ripples powerful enough to stretch and squeeze fabric of the universe were produced.
This causes a brief flash of light, which was a million trillion times as bright as the sun and a hot cloud of radioactive debris was formed. The afterglow of this stayed for several days and it gradually shifted from bright blue to dull red, meanwhile the ejected material cooled in the emptiness of the space.
A team of astronomers detected the aftermath of merge on Earth on August 17 and for the first time in history, they were able to see the source of universe warping forces. Needless-to-say, Albert Einstein already predicted this a year ago.
They also have a visible proof of it and how it appears like a bright jewel in the night sky.
However, this merger of two neutron stars is more than just fireworks and glares.
With the infrared telescope, astronomer studied spectra, also known as the chemical composition of cosmic objects, of the collision and very fascinated to know that the plume ejected by this merger contained a host of newly formed heavy chemical elements like gold, silver, platinum and a few others.
The scientists have estimate the amount of cosmic bling totals roughly 10,000 Earth-masses of heavy elements.
These neutron stars are basically collapsed cores of dead stars and they are known to be the sole survivors of supernovae. According to scientists, they are the densest known objects found in the universe and a single neutron star measures the size of a bustling city and possesses the mass of our sun. Even a teaspoon of its contents would weigh approximately 10 million tons. Huh!
Scientists say, “We are seeing heavy elements like gold and platinum being made in real time.”
When these stars merge together, they release a fire hose of neutrons. As a result of this merger, they are heated to extreme temperatures and the neutrons bombard the surrounding atoms and form the heavy elements.
“Astronomers have suspected for decades that neutron-star mergers were responsible for the production of most of the heavy elements found in the universe. The lightest of the elements, like hydrogen, helium, and lithium, came from the Big Bang. Heavier elements, like carbon and oxygen, came later, fused in the hearts of stars. Some even heavier elements erupted from supernovae. But computer simulations showed these explosions weren’t powerful enough to forge some of the elements that are heavier than iron, like the precious metals. The universe needed another kind of explosion called a kilonova, which shines 1,000 times brighter than a typical supernova.”
Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, who is a theoretical astrophysicist at University of California, Santa Cruz says, “I think this can prove our idea that most of these elements are made in neutron-star mergers. We are seeing the heavy elements like gold and platinum being made in real time.”
No doubt, we are getting close and close to know about cosmic collisions in detail and the hidden science behind them.