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Smashing Neutrons: On the Origin of Extreme r-process Enhanced Stars

22 Feb 2021, 22:43 UTC
Smashing Neutrons: On the Origin of Extreme r-process Enhanced Stars
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Title: Extreme r-process enhanced stars at high metallicity in FornaxAuthors: M. Reichert, C. J. Hansen, A. ArconesFirst Author’s Institution: Technische Universität Darmstadt, Institut für Kernphysik; Helmholtz Forschungsakademie Hessen für FAIR, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für SchwerionenforschungStatus: Open access on arXiv
What are metals?Astronomers, much to the chagrin of chemists, refer to elements heavier than hydrogen or helium as “metals.” In fact, the most abundant “metals” in the Universe, like oxygen and carbon, are not metals at all. Nonetheless, today’s bite focuses on actual heavy metals. While many elements are forged either in the end stages of a massive star’s life in a core-collapse supernova or the death of a white dwarf as a thermonuclear supernova, some elements must be produced in even more exotic ways. These include the s-process and r-process, referring to slow and rapid neutron capture respectively. The s-process occurs in stars, in particular in Asymptotic Giant Branch or AGB stars, the very end stages of a low mass star’s life. The r-process however requires many more neutrons to be captured quickly. There are two possible channels for the r-process, binary neutron star mergers and exotic supernovae.To date, astronomers have studied such heavy elements primarily by looking at the spectra ...

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