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Thread: Shedding Light on the Sun's "Lithium Mystery"

  1. #1
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    Shedding Light on the Sun's "Lithium Mystery"

    For decades, astronomers have known our Sun contains a low amount of lithium, while other solar-like stars actually have more. But they didn't know why. By looking at stars similar to the Sun to study this anomaly, scientists have now discovered of a trend: the majority of stars hosting planets possess [...]

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  2. #2
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    Talking

    Fraser. Very interesting. Nice find. Thanks. Pete

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    For decades, astronomers have known our Sun contains a low amount of lithium, while other solar-like stars actually have more. But they didn't know why. By looking at stars similar to the Sun to study this anomaly, scientists have now discovered of a trend: the majority of stars hosting planets possess [...]

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    Interesting, BUT

    scientists have now discovered of a trend: the majority of stars hosting planets possess less than 1% of the amount of lithium shown by most of the other stars
    (my bold)
    Trends arenīt proofs

    This finding … also provides astronomers with a very efficient way of finding stars with planetary systems
    Yes, thatīs a good point

    These stars have been "very efficient at destroying the lithium they inherited at birth”
    As long as the physical mechanism (see below) is unknown, I would hesitate to talk about destroying inheritated lithium. Maybe, the BB lithium never participated in the star forming process?
    Now that a link between the presence of planets and curiously low levels of lithium has been established, the physical mechanism behind it has to be investigated
    (my bold)
    Yes, because a link is not yet a proof.

  4. #4
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    So , not all stars , burn completely their Lithium. From a discussion about Brown dwarfs I believed stars ,first burned their lithium and deuterium , and only after that ,burned their hydrogen. But maybe it is only true in the core and not on the surface. I am very confused with this discovery.

  5. #5
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    galacsi,
    A star will only burn a fraction of its lithium. The temperature at the surface of the star is not high enough to destroy lithium, so unless a particular lithium nucleus moves deep within the star, it will remain intact. The following article suggests two mechanisms by which planetary systems around a star might cause enough turbulence within the star to pull the lithium down to where it will burn.
    http://physicsworld.com/blog/2009/11...thium_pro.html

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