According to the established opinion, the life cycle of stars ends gradually due to their consistent extinction and destruction. However, a new series of experiments conducted by astronomers made it possible to find out that the stars “die” during the explosion. A bright flash is the last thing that happens to a star before it finally goes out.
To conduct the experiments, scientists carefully studied the substance, which is 25 times denser than the center of the sun. Thus, they managed to find out the nature of nuclear processes that occur inside stars.
“The fate of medium-sized stars depends on a tiny detail, namely, how easily the neon-20 isotope captures the electrons in the star’s core. The capture of electrons depends on this speed how the star’s life cycle ends: either it will be destroyed as a result of a thermonuclear explosion, or it will be destroyed with the formation of a neutron star,” Professor Gabriel Martinez-Pinedo.
During the study, scientists drew attention to a previously unknown transition between the ground states of neon-20 and fluorine-20. This process has become key to determining the electron capture rate in the intermediate mass of the star. After conducting theoretical calculations, the researchers were able to determine the speed at which the electron is drawn into the atomic nucleus. This leads to the conversion of the proton into a neutron and neutrino, while the last of them is thrown out, and the final result is the conversion of one element to another.
Thus, the study revealed that in most cases the most probable fate of stars is a thermonuclear explosion. Now, researchers are studying the process of convection inside the star, various isotopes and their properties.