Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

New Class of Stars Are Totally Metal, Says Astrophysicist

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the hit-the-lights dept.

Space 119

KentuckyFC writes Stars form when clouds of gas and dust collapse under their own gravity, generating enough heat and pressure to fuse the atoms inside them together. When this cloud of dust and gas is the remnants of a supernova, it can contain all kinds of heavy elements in addition to primordial hydrogen, helium and lithium. Now one astrophysicist has calculated that a recently discovered phenomenon of turbulence, called preferential concentration, can profoundly alter star formation. He points out that turbulence is essentially vortices rotating on many scales of time and space. On certain scales, the inertial forces these eddies create can push heavy particles into the calmer space between the vortices, thereby increasing their concentration. In giant clouds of interstellar gas, this concentrates heavy elements, increasing their gravitational field, attracting more mass and so on. The result is the formation of a star that is made entirely of heavy elements rather than primordial ones. Astrophysicists call the amount of heavy elements in a star its "metallicity". Including preferential concentration in the standard model of star formation leads to the prediction that 1 in 10,000 stars should be totally metal. Now the race is on to find the first of this new class of entirely metal stars.

cancel ×

119 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Look in Decibel Magazine (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380281)

or Kerrang! They're full of metal stars

Re:Look in Decibel Magazine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47383311)

Yeah, my first thought when reading this headline was also along these lines. =)

Totally Metal (3, Funny)

Guy From V (1453391) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380283)

When did Nathan Explosion become an astrophysicist?

metal up your ass! (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380337)

**bangs head**

Re:metal up your ass! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380675)

We hear that you like cocks up your ass. So go back to sucking dicks, justinglobal@gmail.com

myNOemail@isSPAMpublic.com (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381455)

so, i'm supposed to worry about 1337 h4xxxx0rz who have my public email, which I made public, right in my profile?

Re:metal up your ass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381735)

Go back to /b/, summerfag, and fucking stay there until September.

Re:Totally Metal (1)

HairyNevus (992803) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380379)

No, no, no. His stardom has finally reached the magnitude that it has become observable in outer space, by astrophysicists. Given his take on Shakespeare, [youtube.com] I doubt he'd make a good astrophysicist.

Re:Totally Metal (1)

Guy From V (1453391) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380411)

Well, he does wear glasses sometimes.

Re:Totally Metal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380395)

Gives a new meaning to the term "Heavy Metal"! Someone's going to have to write a song about this... :-)

Made of Led? (2)

tomhath (637240) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380301)

First metal star should be named after them.

Re:Made of Led? (5, Insightful)

TarPitt (217247) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380385)

name it Ozzy

Re:Made of Led? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380627)

Iron Butterfly and get off my lawn!

Re:Made of Led? (2)

mrbester (200927) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381813)

Lemmy.

Re:Made of Led? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380789)

A metal star would be interesting. Led Zeppelin were dull.

Ouch... (1)

djupedal (584558) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380315)

Wow - a new low in poorly written summaries, sorry.

Hydrogen is metal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380323)

Nuf said.

Re:Hydrogen is metal! (3, Informative)

dltaylor (7510) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380863)

Helium is not!

If you read the article, however, it would point out that astronomers use a skewed definition of "metal", as any element heavier than lithium.

At birth, stars contain little helium, but is is constantly generated by fusing hydrogen.

If you start with metals like sodium and potassium, plus what we normally call non-metals, like carbon and oxygen, then you won't get around to generating helium until you fuze something radioactive that emits an alpha particle.

Star? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380333)

If it's all metal, shouldn't it be a planet?

Re:Star? (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380469)

Stellar fusion can occur with atomic elements up to iron. There are a number of metals that are lighter than iron. If I'm reading this right, stellar fusion could conceivably be triggered by heavier metallic elements if they were "selected for" by the properties of vortices during the formation process.

Re:Star? (4, Informative)

Zcar (756484) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380697)

Additionally, in astrophysics the term "metal" includes many elements which are not metals in any other field. Astrophysically, metals are any element other than hydrogen or helium, so in addition to ordinary metals like sodium and lithium non-metallic elements such as carbon and oxygen are counted as metals.

Re:Star? (1)

Zcar (756484) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380711)

To be clear, there are some varying definitions out there from anything other than hydrogen to anything other than hydrogen, helium, or lithium. Other than hydrogen and helium is the definition I've run across most often.

Re:Star? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381097)

I am OP

I was thinking more of the fact that it is solid, I think of stars as made of gas. But if there is fusion going on, then it wouldn't be solid, I suppose, and it would make sense to call it a star.

Re:Star? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381229)

I think of stars as made of gas.

Plasma.

Re:Star? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381691)

Watch any red carpet interview, and you will quickly learn that stars are all gas, not plasma.

Re:Star? (1)

lgw (121541) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381943)

The best part of which is that hydrogen is, technically, a metal! (It doesn't act like one in water-based chemistry, but it does in some other contexts.)

Hehe, astonomers, they're in their own world.

Planets rotate around stars (1)

billstewart (78916) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381243)

It's not a planet unless it's a planet. And if it's generating radiation through fusion, it's a star of some kind.

Re:Star? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381909)

1. In astronomy all the elements except for Hydrogen and Helium are in the category "metals", so no.
2. In astronomy planets are things which orbit stars (plus some other criteria), so no.

Re:Star? (1)

dave420 (699308) | about a month and a half ago | (#47382873)

2. Not entirely. There are planets without stars, and there are stars which orbit stars (well, stars which orbit a barycentre between itself and another star, which may or may not be inside the other star).

found long ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380343)

First star has been found. Named Fornax-RitchieBlackore837

"star stuff" (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380351)

Every time I hear about a (cool) new kind of star like this i get all teh happi feelz

It reminds me of the Cosmos where Sagan elucidates how everything and everyone we've ever known is made of "star stuff" & our composition reflects our star's composition

So...what kind of planets & planetoids would a **METAL STAR** make???

Re:"star stuff" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380375)

Hard Rock, presumably.

Re:"star stuff" (1)

Guy From V (1453391) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380401)

Astrophysicist Dr. Brian May might have some workable theories.

Re:"star stuff" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380505)

Astrophysicist Dr. Brian May may have some workable theories.

Re:"star stuff" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380507)

So...what kind of planets & planetoids would a **METAL STAR** make???

This kind. [youtube.com]

What kind of planet would a metal star make? (1)

Y.A.A.P. (1252040) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380847)

Cybertron

We have a name for these already... (5, Funny)

Guano_Jim (157555) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380369)

... they're called Class \m/ stars.

Re:We have a name for these already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380483)

I vote we classify them as doomstars [wikipedia.org] .

Metal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380381)

That totally rocks!!!!

Totally Metal Stars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380389)

Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday! Come see the Totally Metal Stars including Megadeth, Metallica, Slipknot and dozens of other head banging, screaming metal bands! Tickets on sale now!

So, it's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380397)

Star systems really are just large-scale atoms and those metal stars are the nucleus.

Re:So, it's true (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380457)

Err, no. None of that is true, and this news doesn't make it any truer.

Re:So, it's true (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380481)

No, they really are not. Gravity has very little effect at the atomic level, but at the level of solar systems is the primary force.

Re:So, it's true (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a month and a half ago | (#47382109)

No, they really are not. Gravity has very little effect at the atomic level, but at the level of solar systems is the primary force.

No, they might very well be. But it is just speculation --- accomplished science neither shows whether they are or not. It's just speculation, either way.

Iif you subscribe to the Bohr model of an atom... our solar systems are a larger scale universe's atoms, then the force we call "Gravity" could be the larger scale universe's electromagnetic force, and then Earth would be an "electron" orbiting the Sun, which would be our nucleus.

The laws of chemistry and physics applicable to the universe at the different scale would have to be quite different.... which is not to say that our solar systems are not another universe's fundamental particles.

Re:So, it's true (1)

dave420 (699308) | about a month and a half ago | (#47382877)

The Bohr model is not an accurate description of atoms, so it's pointless to try to compare anything to it and claim you are comparing to actual atoms.

One slight problem with that ratio... (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380439)

Let's take TFA at face value, and assume one in 10k stars start their evolution as count as "metallic" stars.

Hydrogen main sequence stars burn for a a few million years (for the class O supergiants) to literally trillions of years (for the class M all-but-failures). Helium burning, in a star with sufficient mass, lasts between a few hundred thousand to a few dozen million years.

The subject of TFA starts after helium burning normally finishes - Next on a typical star comes carbon, lasting for only a few hundred years; Then comes neon lasting for a single year, oxygen at half a year, and silicon finishes its run in a single day.

So whether or not a star begins life with a high concentration of trans-lithium metals, it will have a very, very short lifetime; That one-in-ten-thousand creation ratio therefore reduces to more like one-in-a-trillion among those stars still shining in our nighttime sky.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (4, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380455)

You're right, heavy metal stars usually have short lifespans.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380525)

Tell that to Metallica who just rocked Glastonbury, again, the other week

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (2)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380541)

... Metallica isn't real metal.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381517)

They used to be, then they got inflated as they burned up all the elements that made them in the first place.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47383755)

ding ding ding
winner

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380655)

You apparently don't know that Metallica lost a member very early in their career. So, yes, metal stars do flame out early.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380635)

+1 if only I had mod points

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (2)

rahultyagi (924414) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380685)

you are assuming that by "metal" they mean iron etc. all the examples that you cite (except H and He) are "metals" by astrophysicists' definition.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (1)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380845)

I know very little of astronomy, but I have to wonder at the reason why each of the fusion cyles is shorter... is it only because some intrinsic property of the heavier fuel? I had alsways assumed that the fact that there is only a fraction of the original star mass that makes it to Carbon, and only a fraction of that to each successive element in the list what the root cause the the exponential decay in life expectancy of each fuel source. If that is the case, the reason that each cycle is shorter is the lack of fuel. Now, what if ALL the star is made of heavier fuel from the start? Shoud we still expect a ridiculously short fusion time for the initial fuel? If the answer is no, shouldn't such a star be able to shine for at least a few million years?

This is an honest question by someone who wants to know, not a criticism of the parent post.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (4, Informative)

kenwd0elq (985465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380913)

Fusion of hydrogen into helium produces a LOT of energy. Fusion of helium into carbon produces less. In physics terms, it's the "packing fraction" curve, which can show you what energy you'd get out if you fuse elements together.

Iron is at the bottom of the packing fraction curve; when you fuse other stuff into iron, you're getting out the dregs of the fusion energy, partly because it takes higher and higher pressures and temperatures for fusion to occur for heavier elements.

When you get to the pressure and temperature points where iron fuses into still heavier elements, it begins to EXTRACT energy - from the core of the star. Stars exist in a delicate balance between the heat and pressure that tries to blow them apart, and the gravity that tries to crush them together. Take heat OUT of the core of the star, and there's less internal pressure - and gravity starts to win. The core will collapse, generally abruptly, and a crushing "rebound effect" will accelerate the heavy fusion, extracting MORE energy, leading to a core collapse supernova. The star explodes, leaving a black hole or pulsar at the center and blasting a lot of the stellar material back into space.

Which is where we got the iron for our blood, or the gold for our jewelry - blasted out of a supernova. Probably MANY of them.

Re: One slight problem with that ratio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381031)

I'm glad gravity wins

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about a month and a half ago | (#47382615)

By the way nickel 62 is the ultimate symbol of death, the atom with the most binding energy per nucleon, and not Iron. I had a job where I extracted cobalt from nickel, and I was thinking this is how the world is gonna end, extracting high energy stuff from the low energy nickel 62 waste. Iron 56 is often cited instead of nickel 62, and it's close in binding energy, but not top, and more abundant because of units of 4, alpha radiation of helium atoms predominate as a unit in building up heavier elements, and 14x4=56, while 15.5x4=62. But nickel might be more abundant in the core of the Earth or in satellites than in the litosphere, probably because it's more noble or less reactive, it also only goes to divalent not trivalent as iron, so it turns to the metallic form easier and sinks deep easier.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (1)

Draugo (1674528) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381839)

What kenwd0olq said. If you want somewhat more detailed explanation listen to Richard Pogge's excellent Astronomy 162 lecture series and specifically the lectures about death of low and high mass stars (might be somewhere around lectures 14 and 15 but that's just from memory and I'm not sure about that at all).

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380861)

Hydrogen main sequence stars burn for a a few million years (for the class O supergiants) to literally trillions of years (for the class M all-but-failures).

Very well put. Also it takes more and more energy in order to fuse these heaver elements. That is why fusion stops at iron, it actually takes more energy to fuse than you get back. The big problem is that ALL stars burn these heavier elements, so these "special" stars won't be easy to find by looking at their spectral alone. Something else is going to be needed to say this star is normal and this star is a metal star.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381047)

I have some doubts if your length estimates are accurate. Usually as a star progresses along it gets brighter and brighter, which indicates the core fusion rate is going up as it gains density and thus more pressure.

But if you start with an all metal star straight off, wouldn't it potentially start with a more sedate initial burn speed?

Admittedly even then their time to shine is probably still fairly limited, but it might not be quite as bad as you described then.

Re:One slight problem with that ratio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47383915)

Anybody have an account for arXiv.org? Should go email him about that issue.

Using a different definition of "metal" (4, Informative)

jcochran (309950) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380471)

What astronomers mean for the word "metal" isn't what the rest of us mean.

As mentioned in the link to Metallicity, the all metal stars could be composed of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, etc. Basically anything other than hydrogen and helium.

Isnt Hydrogen a Metal? (1)

oic0 (1864384) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380499)

Doesn't seem that far fetched when you consider hydrogen is a metal....

Re:Isnt Hydrogen a Metal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380621)

it's not, it's the sole non metal on that side of the table. Still a valid point though that there's a lot of metals most people dont consider metals and metalloids that there can be that still have exothermic fusion reactions possible. Theres about 50% more of them than non metals before iron

Imploding stars? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380503)

At first I thought this was about Justin Bieber.

Metal Stars (-1, Offtopic)

grub (11606) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380535)


Want metal? Come on Motorhead's Motorboat [motorheadcruise.com] September 22-26! "The loudest boat in the world!"
Motorhead, Anthrax, Megadeth, Wilson, High on Fire and a host of others...
\m/

The Logan-Preston.Esq. class star? (1)

Chas (5144) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380539)

*Air Guitar*

Re:The Logan-Preston.Esq. class star? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381123)

Your lowid is showing.

Re:The Logan-Preston.Esq. class star? (1)

Chas (5144) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381595)

I'll do my bhttp://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5360761&cid=47380539#est to keep it tucked back.

Heavy (1)

vanyel (28049) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380545)

Now that's heavy metal I could actually get into...

Fission? (1)

countach (534280) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380559)

Um.. but no energy could be released from such a star surely, since fusion of anything heavier than iron produces no energy, but actually takes energy. The only way it could produce energy then would be fission. But I'm skeptical about whether a star in such circumstances would really light up, or would just be a sphere of dead metal.

Re:Fission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380577)

It's really a phrasing technicality, as although most people dont think of them as such 15 of the 25 elements prior to Iron are considered metals or metalloids.

Re:Fission? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380777)

Um.. but no energy could be released from such a star surely, since fusion of anything heavier than iron produces no energy

Right, iron Fe, atomic mass 26.

Lithium, for instance, has an atomic mass of 3. Lithium is a metal. I'm sure there are other metals below 26, Sodium comes to mind (atomic mass of 11).

So, based on the assumption that heavier than iron means fission, but less than iron fusion, there's still room for fusion, no?

I think this is fusion, but with a slightly different chemistry, but then the nucularly bits are way beyond me except that it's still fusion.

Wow, a Lithium powered sun, that's pretty cool. :-P

Re:Fission? (1)

kenwd0elq (985465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380873)

In fact, the fusion of anything that produces an element heavier than iron will extract energy from the star's core, hastening its collapse.

Re:Fission? (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381841)

Wow, a Lithium powered sun, that's pretty cool. :-P

It sure as hell wouldn't be depressed.

Re:Fission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47382809)

The energy doesn't need to be released for there to be fusion. If you get enough iron together to start a gravitational collapse, you'll get a temporary all-iron star. It will use its gravitational energy to sustain fusion. Of course this won't last very long (minutes or hours maybe?).

Found it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380607)

Finally, a solution to the "dark matter" problem - stars that have collapsed into a ball of metal (that doesn't radiate vast amounts of energy any more) are the "dark matter" we've been looking for.

Re:Found it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381539)

I suspect that this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I'll clear things up lest anyone take this seriously.

Dark matter isn't just "dark" -- it's invisible. It doesn't interact with light at all. Doesn't emit it, doesn't reflect it, doesn't absorb it. That means that dark matter particles are probably something like neutrinos, which interact so weakly with the electromagnetic force that they can essentially phase right through regular matter. In fact, it is possible that slow-moving neutrinos account for some dark matter. (It's unlikely that neutrinos make up the bulk of dark matter because they are nearly massless.)

We know that dark matter is invisible and not just "dark" because there are huge halos of it around every galaxy. Astrophysicists use the gravity of these dark matter halos to account for the fact that stars on the outermost edge of a galaxy revolve just as quickly as stars near the center. Even if the halos were composed entirely of black metal stars, the blackness of the halo would block out light from the galaxy. Imagine if Saturn's rings were black: We'd still see them because of the shadow that they'd cast on the planet's surface. This is the same idea.

Contrast this with black holes, which are actually black. But they are also ridiculously tiny on an astronomical scale, with event horizons that are usually planet-sized. Dark matter halos, on the other hand, are galaxy-sized, and if they were sitting around casting shadows, someone would definitely have spotted one by now.

Re:Found it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47383717)

Dark matter isn't just "dark" -- it's invisible. It doesn't interact with light at all.

This isn't certain at all, and it is possible that dark matter still weakly interacts with electromagnetism. Some suggests still involve particles that have decay paths involving photons, and some suggest they can still interact enough to directly cause Cerenkov radiation, which is why there are detectors looking for both (in addition to indirect photons and Cerenkov radiation production). Current astronomical observations greatly limit how much dark matter can interact with light, but not eliminate it. And measurements suggesting it can't be baryonic also limit how much it could be just normal junk floating around (there is still a lot of missing baryonic matter from same CMB predictions too).

Such as a "Death Star" perhaps? (1)

Khopesh (112447) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380713)

Let's not confuse extreme metallicity [wikipedia.org] (the rare star containing nearly zero hydrogen or helium) with an all-metal body [wikipedia.org] .

And we'll name the first one we find Black Sabbath (3)

Zenin (266666) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380721)

Unless it's made of a light metal...then we'll name it Warrant.

Solar Accretion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380765)

Our Sun is very high in metallicity. Consider the fact that it has a spectrographic profile of a solid instead of a gas. In addition, surface features are persistent and lots of iron emissions are present. Someday the textbooks will be updated and we will be able to recreate fusion in a cheap tabletop device. Until then we will have to deal with the ignorance built up over hundred of years of dogma (Sun is helium/hydrogen). Cold fusion science (LENR) is just the beginning of an awesome world of possibility.

Implication for stellar clusters (2)

arcctgx (607542) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380767)

If I'm reading TFA correctly, it basically means that stars formed from one molecular cloud have very different metallicities - anywhere between the mean metallicity of the molecular cloud and the "purely metal" extreme. If this is actually true, there may be far reaching implications for the research of stellar clusters. One of the basic assumptions in this field is that all cluster stars created from a given molecular cloud have very similar chemical compositions.

That's not a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380771)

Moon/Star. DeathStar!!

Not the Usual Definition of Metal (4, Informative)

kenwd0elq (985465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380867)

In astrophysics, the term "metal" normally applies to any element heavier than lithium. Carbon, silicon, even gasses like oxygen and nitrogen, are "metals". We're not talking about star remnants that are primarily iron or lead or uranium. Gold would be right out.

Re:Not the Usual Definition of Metal (2)

ccanucs (2529272) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381139)

So - no gold star... Oh well :-)

does it fuse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380921)

My embarrasing-level understanding wonders: the stuff heavier than iron want to come apart, not come together. Does the star, uh, work?

Re:does it fuse? (2)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about a month and a half ago | (#47383247)

The iron doesn't "want" to come apart, and doesn't.

The star is a fine balance of gravitational attraction that compresses of all its parts to the point of fusion at the center, and the expansion of the star as the pressure of fusing energy at the center wants to expand the star.

At first, hydrogen is converted to helium and that process is so energy-rich that the star doesn't struggle much to hold off the collapsing effect of gravity.

As other elements are converted from one to the other, the fusion process is less efficient in producing energy and the star struggles even more to fight off gravity and becomes more dense

At the last stage of the star's life, when it produces iron, the star hits a brick wall. Fusion is not robust enough to convert iron into the next element.

What happens next is amazing because gravity finally overcomes the expanding process of fusion.

The star collapses very quickly, and THAT enormous pressure jams particles together so violently that heavier, more complex elements than iron are made through fission, and at the same time, the star is exploding.

The iron atoms do not come apart. They ride the shock wave.

Saw the headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47380943)

And I thought if any astrophysicist discovered stars that were totally metal, it would be this guy: http://youtu.be/uVj9DISZ3-s

Pinball (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about a month and a half ago | (#47380997)

See, there is a God! The Universe is a gigantic Pinball machine and He has just unlocked a Super Multi-ball!

That's totally metal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381067)

This made me think of Nathan Explosion describing stars...

We have yet to find a star with this spectrum (3, Interesting)

earthforce_1 (454968) | about a month and a half ago | (#47381153)

And we have been studying stellar spectra for a century now. The must be much rarer than 1 in 10,000 or we would have already found one. They must be exceedingly rare.

Re:We have yet to find a star with this spectrum (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47382419)

How would you spot them? The stellar spectra you mention are visible because of all the energy that a non-metallic star can generate through fusion. But metal stars don't have that energy available. They'll be dim, which affects the distance at which we can spot them. The lack of light also complicates our ability to determine their spectra. So the fraction of metal stars amongst the stars with a known spectrum will be even lower than that 1:10000.

Some metal stars aren't far away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381241)

Some nearby metal stars [wikipedia.org] .

Also huge metal planets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47381767)

Recently we found a mega-earth, a rocky planet that was much larger than thought possible for rocky planets. Could this be formed by a similar phenomenon that creates metallic stars?

Metal as in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47382237)

We talking of metal as in Iron or Metal as in devil worshipping?

Iain M Banks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47382311)

It's at times like this one feels the loss of Iain Banks all the more acutely. I would have really looked forward to finding out how he would've worked metal stars into the next Culture novel.

Perfect match... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47382645)

..for a totally metal astronomer: https://www.google.com/search?q=jay+farihi+astronomer

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>