(ORDO NEWS) — A team of scientists led by astrophysicist Sumner Starrfield of Arizona State University (US) was able to combine theoretical data and observations with laboratory research. This made it possible to find out that it was a particular class of stellar explosions, known as classic novae, that is responsible for the formation of lithium in our Galaxy and the Solar System.
The results of the study were recently published in the Astrophysical Journal of the American Astronomical Society.
A team of scientists managed to find out that some of these classic novae will develop until they explode like type Ia supernovae. These exploding stars become brighter than the galaxy and can be detected at very great distances in the universe.
This type was used to study the evolution of the Universe and, from the mid-1990s, to detect the so-called dark energy, which causes the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe. They also produce most of the iron in the galaxy and the solar system, an important component of our red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.
The formation of the universe, known as the Big Bang, formed mainly elements of hydrogen, helium and a small amount of lithium. All other chemical elements, including most lithium, formed in stars.
Classic new stars are a class of stars consisting of a white dwarf (a stellar remnant with the mass of the Sun but the size of the Earth) and a larger star in a close orbit around a white dwarf.
Gas falls from a large star onto a white dwarf, and when enough gas accumulates on a white dwarf, an explosion occurs, or a new one. About 50 explosions a year occur in our galaxy, and astronomers around the world observe the brightest in the night sky.
The authors of the study used several methods at once to determine the amount of lithium produced during a new explosion. They combined computer predictions of the formation of lithium as a result of the explosion, methods of gas emission and its chemical composition, as well as observation of gas emission using a telescope to actually confirm this composition.
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