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R-Process elements from magnetorotational hypernovae

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  • D. Yong
  • C. Kobayashi
  • G. S. Da Costa
  • M. S. Bessell
  • A. Chiti
  • A. Frebel
  • K. Lind
  • A. D. Mackey
  • T. Nordlander
  • M. Asplund
  • A. R. Casey
  • A. F. Marino
  • S. J. Murphy
  • B. P. Schmidt
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223–226
Number of pages9
JournalNature
Volume595
Issue7866
Early online date7 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2021

Abstract

Neutron-star mergers were recently confirmed as sites of rapid-neutron-capture (r-process) nucleosynthesis 1–3. However, in Galactic chemical evolution models, neutron-star mergers alone cannot reproduce the observed element abundance patterns of extremely metal-poor stars, which indicates the existence of other sites of r-process nucleosynthesis 4–6. These sites may be investigated by studying the element abundance patterns of chemically primitive stars in the halo of the Milky Way, because these objects retain the nucleosynthetic signatures of the earliest generation of stars 7–13. Here we report the element abundance pattern of the extremely metal-poor star SMSS J200322.54−114203.3. We observe a large enhancement in r-process elements, with very low overall metallicity. The element abundance pattern is well matched by the yields of a single 25-solar-mass magnetorotational hypernova. Such a hypernova could produce not only the r-process elements, but also light elements during stellar evolution, and iron-peak elements during explosive nuclear burning. Hypernovae are often associated with long-duration γ-ray bursts in the nearby Universe 8. This connection indicates that similar explosions of fast-spinning strongly magnetized stars occurred during the earliest epochs of star formation in our Galaxy.

Notes

Funding Information: Acknowledgements This paper includes data gathered with the 6.5-m Magellan Telescopes located at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, and is based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory under ESO programme DDT 2103.D-5062(A). This research was supported by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D), through project number CE170100013. C.K. acknowledges funding from the UK Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC) through grant ST/M000958/1 and ST/ R000905/1, and the Stromlo Distinguished Visitor Program at ANU. K.L. acknowledges funds from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement number 852977). A.F.M. acknowledges support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement number 797100. A.R.C. acknowledges Australian Research Council grant DE190100656. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

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