A team of Astronomers stated today that the unusual elemental makeup of one star in the Milky Way could be due to a colossal sort of stellar collapse in the early universe. The discovery could aid Astronomers in better understanding the many origins of the universe’s heavy elements, such as gold. SMSS J200322.54-114203.3, the star in question, is 7,500 light-years from the Sun and is located in the halo on the galaxy’s outskirts.
The team believes the star’s peculiar chemistry is caused by a stellar explosion that is even more explosive than a supernova, known as a “hypernova.” The creation of elements heavier than iron necessitates powerful forces: Two standard methods include the merger of neutron stars and the collapse of massive stars in supernova explosions. When lesser parts absorb many neutrons, some of which decay into protons, a stable isotope of a heavy element is created.
The researchers were hunting for a star with a lot of heavy metals like zinc, thorium, and europium. They combed through 26,000 stars from the SkyMapper Southern Sky Survey, a project that has amassed a database of 600 million night sky objects. They limited the field to 150 choices, but only SMSS J200322.54-114203.3 had the high-nitrogen, high-zinc signal that the researchers were looking for.