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|Title:||Identification of strontium in the merger of two neutron stars||Authors:||Watson, Darach
Hansen, Camilla J.
Malesani, Daniele B.
Andersen, Anja C.
Fynbo, Johan P. U.
Heintz, Kasper E.
HUNT, Leslie Kipp
Levan, Andrew J.
|Issue Date:||2019||Journal:||NATURE||Number:||574||Issue:||7779||First Page:||497||Abstract:||Half of all of the elements in the Universe that are heavier than iron were created by rapid neutron capture. The theory underlying this astrophysical r-process was worked out six decades ago, and requires an enormous neutron flux to make the bulk of the elements<SUP>1</SUP>. Where this happens is still debated<SUP>2</SUP>. A key piece of evidence would be the discovery of freshly synthesized r-process elements in an astrophysical site. Existing models<SUP>3-5</SUP> and circumstantial evidence<SUP>6</SUP> point to neutron-star mergers as a probable r-process site; the optical/infrared transient known as a `kilonova' that emerges in the days after a merger is a likely place to detect the spectral signatures of newly created neutron-capture elements<SUP>7-9</SUP>. The kilonova AT2017gfo—which was found following the discovery of the neutron-star merger GW170817 by gravitational-wave detectors<SUP>10</SUP>—was the first kilonova for which detailed spectra were recorded. When these spectra were first reported<SUP>11,12</SUP>, it was argued that they were broadly consistent with an outflow of radioactive heavy elements; however, there was no robust identification of any one element. Here we report the identification of the neutron-capture element strontium in a reanalysis of these spectra. The detection of a neutron-capture element associated with the collision of two extreme-density stars establishes the origin of r-process elements in neutron-star mergers, and shows that neutron stars are made of neutron-rich matter 13||URI:||http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12386/28999||URL:||https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1676-3||ISSN:||0028-0836||DOI:||10.1038/s41586-019-1676-3||Bibcode ADS:||2019Natur.574..497W||Fulltext:||open|
|Appears in Collections:||1.01 Articoli in rivista|
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checked on Jan 16, 2021
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