Chinese astronomers discover giant star rich in lithium

China Central Television (CCTV) – Chinese astronomers have discovered the most lithium-rich giant star ever known and the discovery is likely to shed new light on the evolution of the universe.

The newly discovered star was found in the direction of Ophiuchus on the north side of the galactic disk at a distance of 4,500 light years from the Earth. It has a mass almost 1.5 times that of our sun and 3,000 times more lithium than a normal star, largely increasing the upper limit of observed lithium abundance.

A research team, led by astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, made the discovery with the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST), a special quasi-meridian reflecting Schmidt telescope located in NAOC’s Xinglong Observatory in north China’s Hebei Province.

The researchers said the abundant lithium might be a result of a special material exchange process in the interior of the star.

“Basically, the only possibility for the origin of lithium is that coming from a kind of nuclear reaction in the interior of the star. So it needs a mechanism to quickly bring the interior material up to the surface. If the mechanism indeed exists, we may find another giant star that is even richer in lithium than this one,” said Yan Hongliang, assistant research fellow of NAOC.

Lithium, like hydrogen and helium, is considered as one of the three elements generated in the Big Bang. But its evolution has remained a mystery for years in the astrological world.

The new discovery has provided a unique sample for astronomers to study.

“Lithium is an important factor in the Big Bang theory. The discovery of the lithium-rich giant star and the meticulous research into it through the LAMOST will provide very important inspiration for the research of lithium’s evolution since the Big Bang,” said Zhao Gang, research fellow of NAOC.

The discovery of the star was published in the latest issue of Nature Astronomy.
Physical cosmology, Nature, Astronomy, Security, Light sources, Lithium, Star, China Central Television, Universe, Chronology of the universe, Closed-circuit television, Technology/Internet, Human Interest, Environment, Television Broadcasting, General Education Services, Region: north China, Yan Hongliang, Province/State: Hebei Province, Zhao Gang, Company: CCTV, Chinese Academy of Sciences, assistant research fellow, Country: China, NAOC’s Xinglong Observatory
Finished in 2008, LAMOST began regular surveys in 2012. It has helped Chinese scientists with the final catalog of about 10 million spectra over six years and established the world’s largest databank of stellar spectra.

Associated Links

  • CCTV
  • Physical cosmology
  • Nature
  • Astronomy
  • Security
  • Light sources
  • Lithium
  • Star
  • China Central Television
  • Universe
  • Chronology of the universe
  • Closed-circuit television

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