Making All the Gold in the Universe

James Maynard
Sep 16, 2020 · 4 min read

Neutron star collisions were thought to make much of the gold in the Universe, but something else is making a lot of the precious metal…

In 2017, astronomers witnessed a collision between two neutron stars — the ultradense corpses of massive stars. Analysis seemed to reveal the formation of all elements heavier than iron — including gold — are forged in these titanic collisions.

A new study shows these collisions can not deliver anywhere near enough gold to account for the concentrations we see around the Cosmos.