Artistic view. Credit: David A Hardy and STFC
An international team of nuclear astrophysicists has shed new light on the explosive stellar events known as novae. These dramatic explosions are driven by nuclear processes and make previously unseen stars visible for a short time. The team of scientists measured the nuclear structure of the radioactive neon produced through this process in unprecedented detail.
Their findings, reported in the US journal Physical Review Letters, show there is much less uncertainty in how quickly one of the key nuclear reactions will occur as well as in the final abundance of radioactive isotopes than has previously been suggested.
Dr Alison Laird, from the University of York’s Department of Physics, said: “…We have demonstrated that previous assumptions about key nuclear properties are incorrect and have improved our knowledge of the nuclear reaction pathway.”