Sunday, 18 May 2008

Apod - The Origins of Gold

So gold, you see it all over the place, we make ornaments out of it, use it in expensive electrical devices, and hell, sometimes we even stick it in alcohol and drink the stuff. It's pretty and fairly valuable, but that ain't the half of it... you want awesome? Look at the circumstances surrounding its creation.

Now neutron rich elements such as gold are typically thought to be created in events such as supernovae, and usually that'd be more than cool enough, but it gets better. In our solar system the abundance of gold appears to be much higher than can be explained by conventional means, meaning that likely something else happened.

The answer it would appear, is that something along the lines of two neutron stars colliding could be responsible. In order to fully demonstrate how awesome this is I'd have to jump around making exploding noises and gesticulating lots. You're spared that for now, hopefully the mental image was enough.

Visit today's Astronomy Picture of the Day for the story.

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