Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Notre Dame astrophysicists publish new approach to cosmic lithium in the early universe
by Staff Writers
Notre Dame IN (SPX) Sep 12, 2012


One of the four European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescopes (VLT) with the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds in the background. Notre Dame astrophysicists used the VLT to observe gas in the Small Magellanic Cloud to constrain the cosmic abundance of lithium. Image: ESO/B. Tafreshi.

J. Christopher Howk, Nicolas Lehner and Grant Mathews of the Center for Astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame published a paper this week in the journal Nature titled "Observation of interstellar lithium in the low-metallicity Small Magellanic Cloud." The astrophysicists have explored a discrepancy between the amount of lithium predicted by the standard models of elemental production during the Big Bang and the amount of lithium observed in the gas of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy near to our own.

"The paper involves measuring the amount of lithium in the interstellar gas of a nearby galaxy, but it may have implications for fundamental physics, in that it could imply the presence of dark matter particles in the early universe that decay or annihilate one another," Howk says.

"This may be a probe of physics in the early universe that gives us a handle on new physics we don't have another way to get a handle on right now."

The team, using observations from European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, measured the amount of lithium in the interstellar gas of the Small Magellanic Cloud, which has far fewer star-produced heavy elements than the Milky Way.

In addition to the production of elements by fusion in the core of stars, scientists believe conditions immediately after the Big Bang led to the formation of some elements, including a small amount of lithium.

Stars in the Milky Way have about four times less lithium on the surface than expected by Big Bang predictions. Some scientists suggest that stellar activity might destroy lithium, or the element might sink from the surface through lighter hydrogen, but the remarkably consistent ratio from star to star is a challenge to those explanations.

Observations of gas in the Small Magellanic Cloud revealed the amount of lithium that predictions say would have been produced at the Big Bang, but leave no room for subsequent production of the element.

One explanation could be a novel kind of physics operating at the Big Bang that left less lithium than the Standard Model predicts. To pursue this possibility, the team will conduct three nights of observations on the VLT in November.

They will look for the lithium isotope 7Li in the Large Magellanic Cloud and 6Li in both the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud. The standard model predicts that no 6Li was created at the Big Bang.

Brian Fields of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign co-authored the work.

.


Related Links
Center for Astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





STELLAR CHEMISTRY
NASA Mission to Study Magnetic Explosions Passes Major Review
Greenbelt, MD (SPX) Sep 07, 2012
On August 31, 2012 , NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission proved it was ready for its next steps by passing what's called a Systems Integration Review (SIR), which deems a mission ready to integrate instruments onto the spacecraft. The MMS mission is due to launch in late 2014. It will observe a mysterious process called magnetic reconnection, which creates explosive bursts ... read more


STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Chandrayaan II may be delayed, says ISRO Chief

First man on moon to be buried at sea: Armstrong family

Russian deputy PM proposes Moon station

NASA's GRAIL Moon Twins Begin Extended Mission Science

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
NASA Observations Point to 'Dry Ice' Snowfall on Mars

Mars rover Curiosity working 'flawlessly': NASA

Lockheed Martin Begins Final Assembly of NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft

Early Mars may not have been hospitable after all: study

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Mankind's messenger at the final frontier

35 years on, Voyager 'dancing on edge' of outer space

Space-age food served up with seeds of success

Africa eyes joint space agency

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Tiangong Orbit Change Signals Likely Date for Shenzhou 10

China Focus: Timeline for China's space research revealed

China eyes next lunar landing as US scales back

China unveils ambitious space projects

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Astronauts Take Second Spacewalk

ISS crew complete space station repair

Crew Wraps Up Preparations for Wednesday's Spacewalk

Building MLM Under Way at Khrunichev

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
SES signs three satellite launches with SpaceX

S. Korea to make third rocket launch bid in October

Arianespace concurrently manages six missions with Ariane 5 and Soyuz

First-Stage Fuel Loaded; Launch Weather Forecast Improves

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Birth of a planet

A Hot Potential Habitable Exoplanet around Gliese 163

NASA's Kepler Discovers Multiple Planets Orbiting a Pair of Stars

How Old are the First Planets?

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
SciTechTalk: Tablet wars heat up

System will seek orbiting space debris

Apple unveils thinner, more powerful iPhone 5

Zuckerberg eyes mobile after Facebook IPO flop




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement