The origins of gold and other heavy elements have been a matter of uncertainty for a long time, but a new study might just have found the answer. Dying stars known as collapsars collapse into black holes. These stellar objects could be to thank for the precious metals used in much jewelry today.
Black Hole Formation from Collapsing Stars
Scientists have been studying collapsars, black holes, and the possible link with heavy metals. Their latest findings are reported in Nature. The massive spinning stars known as collapsars are believed to collapse and form black holes in the process. Scientists now believe that as the outer layers of the stars collapse, materials swirling around the black hole and feeding it create unique conditions.
The new study was co-authored by Brian Metzger, an astrophysicist at Columbia University. The findings describe the nature of black holes, their formation, and their feeding requirements. Black holes exist in very extreme conditions. They take in or feed on great volumes of matter. Any matter that is not gulped down is blown away in a neutron-rich wind. It is these very conditions that could explain the formation of heavy metals such as gold and platinum. Scientists are now using computer simulations to understand further what could have taken place in such cosmic events.
The Question of Heavy Metal Formation
Scientists have always been interested in the origins, nature, and formation of the different classes of elements that make up the periodic table and are found in the Earth’s atmosphere, core, and crust. The formation of elements such as oxygen, carbon, and iron has been known to come from the inside of stars followed by their release in explosions known as supernovas. The current findings are shedding light about heavy metal formation, which has been known to require extreme conditions with a dense concentration of neutrons.