(ORDO NEWS) — An international research team has recently developed a novel proton capture reaction rate on copper-57 for the extreme astrophysical environment on the surface of neutron stars.
Ever since the first Type I X-ray burst was discovered in the last century, astrophysicists have been striving to understand the structure of these bursts.
This includes understanding their energy, the composition of the ash left on the surface of a neutron star, and perhaps even their contribution to the formation of some of the rarest chemical elements in the universe.
In order to build accurate models of bursts, in addition to macroscopic astrophysical conditions, scientists need to know exactly the rates of nuclear reactions of key nuclides. Detailed knowledge of the nuclear reaction pathway allows them to model the synthesis of chemical elements.
Previous studies indicate that the copper-57 proton capture reaction is the fifth most influential reaction to have affected the periodic thermonuclear explosion of X-ray source GS 1826-24.
The scientists found that the new reaction rate of proton capture by copper-57 significantly alters the composition of the ash from the flare.
These results help to better define the states of nuclear matter under extreme conditions inside neutron stars, which is a key component for understanding gravitational waves from binary neutron star mergers and analogues of gamma-ray bursts in the era of modern astronomy.
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