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Stars rich in phosphorus: Seeds of life in the universe

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All of the chemical components within the universe, apart from hydrogen and many of the helium, had been produced inside stars. However amongst them there are just a few (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and phosphorus) that are notably attention-grabbing as a result of they’re fundamental to life as we all know it on Earth. Phosphorus is of particular curiosity as a result of it types a part of the DNA and RNA molecules and is a needed ingredient within the energetic interchange inside cells, and for the event of their membranes.

The examine revealed in Nature, based mostly on an evaluation of a lot of infrared spectra (within the H band, with APOGEE) from the general public knowledge base of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, might supply a transparent set of promising stellar candidates to make clear the origin and the amount noticed of phosphorus within the Galaxy, and particularly, in our Photo voltaic System, which till now none of the present fashions of Galactic chemical evolution have been in a position to clarify.

Nonetheless, the peculiar chemistry which these stars present continues to be disconcerting. In reality, not solely are they wealthy in phosphorus, but additionally in sure different components, reminiscent of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, aluminium and even of heavier components reminiscent of cerium. Suprisingly, after an intensive evaluation of all of the attainable stellar sources and processes recognized to type chemical components within the interiors of stars, this chemical sample shouldn’t be predicted by the present theories of stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis.

“These outcomes present that not solely are we coping with a brand new kind of objects, however that their discovery opens the way in which for the exploration of latest bodily mechanisms and nuclear reactions which happen in stellar interiors” explains IAC researcher Thomas Masseron, the chief of the mission and the primary writer of the article.

“It could possibly be an necessary clue in regards to the origin of the phosphorus, which is a basic element of life”, says Anibal Garcia-Hernandez, one other IAC researcher, who’s the second writer of the article.

As well as, due to Spanish service time, they may get hold of the optical spectrum of probably the most good of the phosphorus stars with the Echelle spectrograph (FIES) on the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) on the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, (Garafia, La Palma).

“This spectrum allowed us to acquire the chemical abundances of additional components in these stars that are peculiar and wealthy in phosphorus, and to rule out definitively any recognized stellar candidate which might clarify the celebs that are wealthy on this components”, signifies Olga Zamora, a co-author of the article, and an IAC assist astronomer.

“A discovery which is so surprising and extraordinary couldn’t have been made with no shut interdisciplinary collaboration between astronomers and specialists in computation”, factors out Arturo Manchado, an IAC analysis and a co-author of the article.

Analysis Report: “Phosphorus-rich stars with unusual abundances are challenging theoretical predictions”

Associated Hyperlinks

Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands

Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It

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Astronomers find young galaxy with record-low oxygen levels

Washington DC (UPI) Aug 03, 2020

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