Viewpoint: Neutron-Star Implosions as Heavy-Element Sources
Hans-Thomas Janka, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, D-85748 Garching, Germany
August 7, 2017• Physics 10, 89
A dramatic scenario in which a compact black hole eats a spinning neutron star from inside might explain a nearby galaxy’s unexpectedly high abundance of heavy elements.
The lightest of the chemical elements—hydrogen, helium, and lithium—were created in the hot, early phase of the Universe, about a minute after the big bang. Heavier elements were forged later—in the nuclear fires of many generations of stars and during supernova explosions. But the origin of many rare chemical species, particularly the heaviest elements, remains uncertain. In particular, recent observations of a nearby galaxy * enriched with heavy elements challenge traditional nucleosynthesis models. George Fuller of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues ‡ now propose a novel scenario for the origin of the heaviest elements, including gold, platinum, and uranium. Their hypothesis involves tiny black holes inducing neutron-star implosions and, if viable, would in one [...] swoop offer solutions to other astrophysical riddles beyond heavy element synthesis.
* Reticulum II
Primordial Black Holes and r -Process Nucleosynthesis
George M. Fuller, Alexander Kusenko, and Volodymyr Takhistov
Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 061101 – Published 7 August 2017
UC San Diego press release
There is some background to the issue in these two articles