Too much heavy metals in the material of stars slows down their further production.

(ORDO NEWS) — The stars are giant factories for the production of elements in the universe – including the elements found in our bodies, as well as deposits of metals on the surface and below the Earth’s surface.

But how does the production of metals by stars change over time?

Two new studies are shedding light on the processes by which the stars of the youngest generation will eventually stop enriching the universe with new elements.

The authors are members of the ASTRO 3D collaboration (ARC Center of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions). It includes representatives from Monash University, the Australian National University and the Space Telescope Institute, USA.

“We know that the first two elements of the Periodic Table – hydrogen and helium – were created in the Big Bang,” said Amanda Karakas, lead author of the study of metal-rich stars.

“Over time, the stars that appeared after the Big Bang began to enrich the Universe with heavy elements.”

But the ability of stars to produce new portions of metals depends on the composition of the material of the star at its birth.

“The introduction of only tiny amounts of metals into the composition of the gas of a star is of great importance for the entire subsequent evolution of the star,” said Giulia Cinquegrana. In her work, using numerical simulations, the chemical composition of the substance of metal-rich stars is studied.

“We found that with a certain metal content in the original gas, over time, stars stop enriching the universe with new metals throughout their life cycle,” said Singekrana.

The sun, formed about 4.5 billion years ago, is a typical “middle-aged star”. It is “metal-rich” compared to early-generation stars, and has the relatively high abundance of heavy elements found in many other stars in the center of the Milky Way.

“Our work predicts the evolution of younger stars (later generations), the content of metals in the substance of which can exceed the content of metals in the material of the Sun up to 7 times,” said Caracas.


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