Pirates have hunted it. Monarchs have exploited it. Jewelers have sold it. But where did gold come from?
Research by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) suggests that the Earth's supply of gold originated from collisions of dead stars.
The research is based on recent observations of a nearby gamma-ray burst, GRB 130603B. Gamma-ray bursts are flashes of high-energy light (gamma rays), associated with explosions. Researchers believe GRB 130603B resulted from the collision of two neutron stars--deceased cores of stars that have previously exploded.
In GRB 130603B, researchers observed a burst of light lasting two-tenths of a second, then a glow dominated by infrared light, which radiated from the area for several days. The glow exhibited unusual behavior. Per the press release:
The team believes that significant quantities of various heavy elements, such as gold, were created and suspended within that area.
"We estimate that the amount of gold produced and ejected during the merger of the two neutron stars may be as large as 10 moon masses--quite a lot of bling!" lead author Edo Berger said in a statement.
Given the frequency of GRBs, Berger and his colleagues hypothesize that all of the universe's gold could have originated from these events.
That is pretty cool. Never really gave much thought to the origins of the elements.
Now it raises the question: do most planets have as wide a collection of the various elements as Earth? If not, then why not?
"We Entertain When It Rains"
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So with a large enough power source it is theoretically possible for alchemy to be a reality?! That's how i read it anyway lol.
We can't change one element to another element by CHEMICAL means because, that involves electrons, not the protons in the nucleus that give the identity of the element. However, one element can be changed into another via NUCLEAR means, such as radioactive decay, & fusion and fission of atomic nuclei (thus involving the protons of the nucleus).
**Alchemy is referring to changing an element into another element (different "type" of atom) via CHEMICAL (NOT NUCLEAR) means, which is not possible.
***An example of an element changing into another via addition of protons:
An isotope of Platinum has a mass number (A) of 197 (and like all isotopes of an element, the same number of protons/Z, which is 78). This particular isotope is unstable because, it's "neutron-rich" (it has more neutrons than isotopes of platinum that are lighter/more stable). Neutron rich isotopes indicates the isotope will undergo "Beta-negative (negatron) decay", which involves a neutron converting into a proton that REMAINS in the nucleus, while a non-orbital/free electron (called a "Beta-negative particle or negatron) is emitted. Since the number of protons has increased (specifically by "one" in this case) during this decay process, and since the number of protons is distinct for each element, the daughter element is not platinum anymore but instead it's gold (which has an atomic number of 79).
From super novas? Like us?
I'm getting really tired of PopSci, so logging off. Forever. If the populus wants to read tendentious and largely untrue seudo-scientific articles, good luck with your ignorance, but never try to get into a real discusion of science.
This opens up the possibility that there are asteroids out there made almost entirely out of gold. Or at least, a very high concentration of it.
There is one small problem with this concept. Collisions cause elements to fly outwards. Not to condense. Plus no evidence to show that enough of those actions could possibly be responsible for the amounts of heavy elements on Earth. The problems go on and on.