Collapsars are rapidly spinning massive stars that collapse into black holes as their outer layer explode in a rare type of supernova. However, these black holes can only gulp so much matter down in time. What they don’t swallow is a disk of material that swirls around the black hole as it feeds. This disk of material is rich in neutrons, which is the perfect conditions for this astronomical alchemy- the creation of heavy elements such as gold, platinum, and uranium. Therefore, your favorite gold jewelry could be the “left-overs” of a new black hole’s meals.
Astronomers have always wondered where these heavy elements originated. To create elements that are further down the periodic table, an extreme environment densely packed with neutrons is required. This new proposal on how a universe’s gold originated has scientists really intrigued.
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