Shock finding reveals no gold, platinum created by brightest-ever Supernova explosion recorded in the Universe - Hindustan Times
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Shock finding reveals no gold, platinum created by brightest-ever Supernova explosion recorded in the Universe

Apr 12, 2024 07:13 PM IST

A huge supernova explosion was recorded in 2022, but shockingly, study shows it produced no gold or platinum.

Gold and platinum are the most precious and priciest metals on Earth. Their available quantity is always scarce and their value as such has always remained at the highest end of the spectrum. But do you know where gold and platinum, or even uranium (all heavy metals), come from? They are birthed in colossal solar explosions, the biggest of them all, and they are called supernovas. That has been the truth that everyone has known and recognised. Till now. In fact, the books may well have to be rewritten as the brightest-ever cosmic explosion - a supernova recorded in 2022 - has revealed that there were no traces of gold or platinum that could be detected in it.

A supernova is widely expected to create heavy metals like gold and platinum - the source of all such metals. (This composite image is of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant.)(REUTERS)
A supernova is widely expected to create heavy metals like gold and platinum - the source of all such metals. (This composite image is of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant.)(REUTERS)

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What really happened during the supernova burst

The source of the explosion was from a distant galaxy 2.4 billion light-years away and the gamma rays it was emitting went on for a long 7-minute spell. Also, it was so powerful that instruments recording it went off scale. It was later revealed that the gamma ray burst was 100 times brighter than any other recorded till then. And that is why it was dubbed the Brightest Of All Time (B.O.A.T.).

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What is the answer?

The research on the issue was co-led by Dr Peter Blanchard, from Northwestern University in Illinois in the US, and he said, “Theorists need to go back and look at why an event like the B.O.A.T is not producing heavy elements when theories and simulations predict that they should.”

The official research was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

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However, some are quite welcoming of this new-found truth. In its report, BBC quoted Prof Catherine Heymans of Edinburgh University and Scotland's Astronomer Royal as saying, “The fact that it is not giving us the answers we want is great, because we can go back to the drawing board and think again and come up with better theories.”

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