Gold seen in neutron star collision debris

Gold seen in neutron star collision debris

Material ejected in gamma-ray bursts may be source of heavy elements

By Erin Wayman, 15:28 PM July 22, 2013

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Dead stars make good alchemists.

Images snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that gold may have been generated by a violent neutron star collision that also yielded lead, platinum, uranium and other heavy elements.

The stellar smashup was detected on June 3, when NASA’s Swift satellite observed a gamma-ray burst 3.9 billion light-years away. Astrophysicists believe that a crash between two neutron stars, the dense, neutron-rich cores left over after massive stars explode...

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