Guest Video: Elements Forming in a Dying Star


I found this amazing BBC trailer while looking up something I found while researching arsenic.



That’s just breathtaking!

But if you’ve ever seen the periodic table, you know that there are heavier elements than iron. Arsenic is one of them.

Our Sun is too small to produce any element heavier than oxygen. The larger stars, like Betelgeuse (mentioned in the video and shown by an arrow in the image at the top of this post), are the ones that manufacture elements up to iron.

Beyond that, to make platinum and gold, for example, it takes a supernova.

Please don’t mention this to the BBC–who knows what they would blow up to illustrate that!

Such conditions are too extreme to model in a lab, which is why astronomers got very excited when they found arsenic and selenium in an old star just beyond the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. The data gives them more to work with.



Featured image: Akira Fujii via Wikimedia, public domain.


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