Gold // Element 79 A Biography on gold by Emma Potts

Gold is not only a rare and precious metal here on our planet Earth, but it is also rare in the universe. This is because the event that occurs when Gold is formed -- rarely happens. Gold was formed about a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Earth did not receive gold until 200 millions years after the formation of the plant, when meteors with gold smashed into the surface.

A neutron star is the collapsed core of a star (usually weighing between 10-29 solar masses). They have a mass of 1.4 times our sun and neutron stars are the most dense stars in the universe. (They are also the smallest stars known to exist.) A neutron star is so dense that a teaspoon of a star would come out to be a billion tons.

Neutron stars form from the deaths of red super giants. A red super giant is an aging star that has consumed its core supply of helium. This makes hydrogen in the outer shell undergo nuclear fusion.
Red Super giants are stars that are very large and cool. They have spectral types of K and M.

It is very rare that two neutrons stars will collide. When they do, however, their neutron star remnants spiral inwards and merge. This takes place with two massive stars that have both died in supernova explosions.

A Supernova is the explosion of a star

These neutron star remnants merge to form a black hole. 96% of the mass forms to make a black hole while a fraction of the mass gets ejected.

Black holes are regions in space that have a very strong gravitational force. No matter or radiation of any kind can ever escape.

This event leads to a gamma ray burst. The parts of the neutron star that get ejected typically form some of the heaviest elements on the periodic table including gold.

A single neutron star merger can create 20 times the amount of mass of the moon in gold alone.

This is the primary source of elements such as gold, platinum, and tungsten.

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Emma Potts
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