Astrophysical observations give scientists the most essential information about the processes and “rates of production” of elements in nature and their abundance in the Universe. The lightest elements of the Periodic Table—hydrogen, helium, and, partially, lithium—appeared in the first seconds after the birth of the Universe. The first stars “gathered” from them; they enriched the Universe with heavier elements during the evolutionary process, with the participation of which “modern” stars subsequently formed. These stars, in turn, serve as natural factories for the synthesis of heavy elements not only throughout their lives but also during their deaths in supernova outbursts. The recent discovery of the fusion of neutron stars and subsequent studies of their afterglow revealed the features of the formation of superheavy elements in the Universe up to gold and uranium.
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This report used materials and illustrations from the websites of NASA, ESA, LIGO/Viro Caltech, and the Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences.
Translated by O. Zhukova
Alexander Anatol’evich Lutovinov Dr. Sci. (Phys.–Math.), is a Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Deputy Director of the Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences.
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Lutovinov, A.A. Chemical Elements in Space. Her. Russ. Acad. Sci. 90, 239–244 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1019331620020136
- thermonuclear burn
- neutron star fusions.