Home » We already know which is the best natural factory for the most precious rare earths: a cosmic kilonova

We already know which is the best natural factory for the most precious rare earths: a cosmic kilonova

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We already know which is the best natural factory for the most precious rare earths: a cosmic kilonova

Scientists Discover Kilonova Capable of Synthesizing Rare Earth Elements in Distant Galaxy

A recent discovery by an international team of scientists, including Spanish astrophysicists from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, has shed light on the incredible capabilities of kilonovae. These cosmic events, which occur when two neutron stars collide, have been found to have the ability to produce heavy chemical elements, including rare earth elements such as neodymium, promethium, and gadolinium.

The kilonova that led to this groundbreaking discovery occurred in a galaxy located 950 million light years from Earth, demonstrating the immense power and energy generated by such cosmic collisions. The event, which was observed on March 7, 2023, produced a burst of gamma rays that provided valuable insight into the process of nucleosynthesis in neutron star collisions.

Stellar nucleosynthesis typically only triggers the formation of elements lighter than iron, but kilonovae have been shown to be capable of synthesizing heavier elements, including rare earths. These elements, with unique physicochemical properties, play a crucial role in various industries, from electronics to renewable energy.

The study, published by the team of astrophysicists, highlights the importance of cosmic events like kilonovae in the creation of heavy chemical elements that are essential for technological advancements. By understanding the mechanisms at play in these collisions, scientists can further unravel the mysteries of the universe and the formation of elements beyond iron.

The discovery of the kilonova’s ability to produce rare earth elements has opened up new avenues for research in astrophysics and may have implications for our understanding of the universe’s chemical composition. As scientists continue to study these cosmic phenomena, we can expect to learn more about the processes that shape the elements found in the cosmos.

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