Stars Rich in Phosphorus Challenge Theoretical Predictions

Origin of Phosphorus on Earth

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Scheme which represents the origin of phosphorus on Earth, with regard to possible excellent sources of phosphorus in our Galaxy. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC)

All the chemical aspects in deep space, other than for hydrogen and the majority of the helium, were produced inside stars. But amongst them there are a couple of (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus) which are especially fascinating due to the fact that they are fundamental to life as we understand it on Earth. Phosphorus is of unique interest due to the fact that it forms part of the DNA and RNA particles and is an essential aspect in the energetic interchange within cells, and for the advancement of their membranes.

The research study released in Nature, based upon an analysis of a a great deal of infrared spectra (in the H band, with APOGEE) from the general public database of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, might use a clear set of appealing excellent prospects to clarify the origin and the amount observed of phosphorus in the Galaxy, and particularly, in our Solar System, which previously none of the existing designs of Galactic chemical development have actually had the ability to discuss.

However, the strange chemistry which these stars reveal is still befuddling. In reality, not just are they abundant in phosphorus, however likewise in specific other aspects, such as magnesium, silicon, oxygen, aluminum, and even much heavier aspects such as cerium. Suprisingly, after a comprehensive analysis of all the possible excellent sources and procedures understood to form chemical aspects in the interiors of stars, this chemical pattern is not anticipated by the existing theories of excellent development and nucleosynthesis.

“These results show that not only are we dealing with a new type of objects, but that their discovery opens the way for the exploration of new physical mechanisms and nuclear reactions which occur in stellar interiors” discusses IAC scientist Thomas Masseron, the leader of the job and the very first author of the short article.

“It could be an important clue about the origin of the phosphorus, which is a fundamental component of life”, states Aníbal García-Hernández, another IAC scientist, who is the 2nd author of the short article.

In addition, thanks to Spanish service time, they might acquire the optical spectrum of the most dazzling of the phosphorus stars with the Echelle spectrograph (FIES) on the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, (Garafía, La Palma).

“This spectrum allowed us to obtain the chemical abundances of further elements in these stars which are peculiar and rich in phosphorus, and to rule out definitively any known stellar candidate which could explain the stars which are rich in this elements”, suggests Olga Zamora, a co-author of the short article, and an IAC assistance astronomer.

“A discovery which is so unexpected and extraordinary could not have been made without a close interdisciplinary collaboration between astronomers and experts in computation”, explains Arturo Manchado, an IAC research study and a co-author of the short article.

Reference: “Phosphorus-rich stars with unusual abundances are challenging theoretical predictions” by Thomas Masseron, D. A. García-Hernández, Raúl Santoveña, Arturo Manchado, Olga Zamora, Minia Manteiga and Carlos Dafonte, 4 August 2020, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17649-9

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