International news within the industry of mining and metal, Nov, 15 2018
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Researchers discovered a distant star, rich of lithium

Chinese telescope Lamost, Photo: NAOC
Chinese telescope Lamost, Photo: NAOC
Published by
Markku Björkman - 23 Aug 2018

Chinese scientists have discovered a red giant using the telescope Lamost, a special type of star that contains record-amount of lithium.

The content is 3000 times higher than normal lithium in just red giants. And that's an interesting discovery, says Sofia Ramstedt, astronomical assistant at Uppsala University.

- The amount of lithium found in the universe is seen as evidence of the Big Bang. So it's important to understand how lithium is formed and destroyed and how much there is, she says to Sweden's Radio.

At Big Bang, only three elements were formed: hydrogen, helium, and lithium.

However, according to the astronomers, lithium has never been very common and it has been difficult for researchers to get together the calculations of how much lithium there should be with how much one really found.

Therefore, finds like this are welcome. And that it's a red giant that contains the record finding is no coincidence, says Sofia Ramstedt.

"When the fuel runs out of the star's core, it happens a lot of things. Then it bubbles around, gases are mixed and the whole star grows up and one such one becomes a red giant. And the theory of the article is that at the right time, lithium has been lifted from the hottest places in the middle of the star and it can only happen in a red giant.

Does it mean that you made the calculations at the right time?
- Yes, it's possible that many stars go through a lithium stage, in just the outer parts that are the parts we can observe.

Why is it really interesting to know which topics were formed when?
"It's interesting in the same way as trying to understand where the Earth is in the universe. If you live on earth and most think about what to eat for dinner then you may not think so much about this. But in a broader perspective, it is interesting.

The star is approximately 4500 light years away in Milky Way star formation.

Source: Sveriges Radio