Gold, together with other heavy elements, does not originate from Earth. It's created in some of the most violent events in the universe.
When you were buying gold ring, did you try to guess where did gold come from? Mines in Africa or Australia? No. It comes from a much, much greater distance.
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Stars, like our Sun, transform easier elements into heavier. During that process a huge amount of energy is released. During the greatest part of their lifetime, stars transform hydrogen into helium. When they come near the end of life they start transforming helium into heavier elements.
Michigan State University researchers, working with colleagues from the Technical University Darmstadt in Germany, are trying to figure out how heavy elements are created in stars.
In a recently published paper in the journal Physical Review Letters, the researchers detail how they are using computer models to come closer to an answer. They used high-performance computing to simulate the creation of heavy elements in stars.
"At this time, no one knows the answer for sure" said Witold Nazarewicz, a professor at MSU and one of the co-authors of the paper. "But this work will help guide future experiments and theoretical developments."
Currently there are two candidates: a supernova and neutron-star merger. Supernova happens when massive star at the end of its life explodes. That explosion releases huge amount of energy and possibly creates heavy elements. Neutron-star merger happens when two neutron stars merge releasing huge amount of energy. Neutron star is created when Sun-like star depletes its fuel and blows out its atmosphere.
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So, next you are buying gold ring for you loved-one, remember it originates from the stars.