Monday, May 16, 2016

Which elements will never be made by our Sun? (Synopsis)

Which elements will never be made by our Sun? (Synopsis):

“There’s no god, it’s the elements that control this world and everything on it.” -Scott A. Butler
From hydrogen through uranium and even beyond, the Universe gives us a huge variety of elements that can bond together in practically innumerable ways, creating all the matter we’ve ever observed in existence. Everything beyond helium in the periodic table way made inside of stars, but not all stars create elements equally.



Artist’s impression of the red hypergiant VY Canis Majoris. Our Sun will become a more modest red giant, but a giant nonetheless. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Sephirohq, under a c.c.a.-s.a.-3.0 unported license.


Artist’s impression of the red hypergiant VY Canis Majoris. Our Sun will become a more modest red giant, but a giant nonetheless. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Sephirohq, under a c.c.a.-s.a.-3.0 unported license.
Our Sun will someday become a red giant, fusing not just helium into carbon, but creating elements that rise higher and higher in the periodic table. Yet there’s a limit to what even a red giant can create, as there are some elements that require a process our Sun will never know.



Two neutron stars colliding, which is the primary source of many of the heaviest periodic table elements in the Universe. Image credit: Dana Berry, SkyWorks Digital, Inc.


Two neutron stars colliding, which is the primary source of many of the heaviest periodic table elements in the Universe. Image credit: Dana Berry, SkyWorks Digital, Inc.
Find out which elements the Sun can (and cannot) make today!