View Full Version : Help someone please explain this to me

2003-May-28, 01:06 AM
If all the elements come from stars, Hydrogen to Helium to Carbon to Neon to Oxygen to Silicon then stops at Iron, I believe I have the seqence right, then where does gold lead and alot of the heavier elements come from.

2003-May-28, 01:10 AM
When massive stars explode as Type II supernova (after their core has burned up to iron), the energy released leads to the formation of the heavier elements. This is not a self-sustained nuclear fusion reaction, but would be a form of transmutation.

The neat part is that these heavier elements are scattered out into the interstellar medium and incorporated into new generations of stars. Its pretty wild to think that the gold jewelry (for example) that people wear is made from gold that was formed in an exploding star!

Hope that helps.

2003-May-28, 05:25 AM
Stars make those heavy elements in two main ways: the s-process, in which a slow flux of neutrons hits iron nuclei to build heavier elements, and the r-process, in which a rapid flux of neutrons bombards iron nuclei to build heavier elements. The s-process occurs in red giants and supergiants and produces elements such as technetium; the r-process occurs in supernovae and produces elements such as gold.

2003-May-28, 12:21 PM
That is also why there is a lot more of the lighter elements around than the heavier elements.