Stellar Astrophysics

An ancient star missing its iron

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Science  04 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6461, pp. 69-70
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6461.69-b

The Big Bang produced only hydrogen, helium, and traces of lithium. Heavier elements were forged within the first generation of stars, which then exploded as supernovae. A second stellar generation formed from gas polluted by those supernovae, and some of those stars are still around today. Nordlander et al. discovered a star with an extremely small amount of iron, much more carbon, and low abundances of several other elements. Comparison to supernova models indicates this is an old second-generation star enriched by a single supernova. The supernova ejected its outer carbon-rich layers, but the inner core of iron mostly fell back into the black hole formed during the explosion.

Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 488, L109 (2019).

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