Institute of Astronomy

Heavy elements in red giant stars

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Amanda Karakas (Monash)7 March 2019Institute of Astronomy Seminars


Most of the elements in the periodic table were forged in stars. Humans have been able to determine the origin of many of the chemical elements that naturally occur in our Solar System. For example carbon, vital to life, was made in roughly equal parts by ageing red giant stars and exploding massive stars. The biggest mystery today concerns the origin of the elements heavier than iron. Red giants stars play a particularly important role here and produce roughly half of all trans-iron elements. In this talk I will review the current state of knowledge in this field with a focus on recent breakthroughs.