Nuclear astrophysics

Definition

Nuclear astrophysics is the study of nuclear-level processes that occur naturally in space. Notably, this includes understanding the chain of fusion events, or nucleosynthesis, that occurs in stars, and how this can be detected from a distance by measuring the radiation these processes produce.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Using an innovative method, the mass of a pulsar can be constrained using the maximum ‘glitch’ in the star’s rotational frequency: the bigger the glitch, the lower the mass. This method is used to estimate the mass of all observed glitchers.

    • P. M. Pizzochero
    • , M. Antonelli
    • , B. Haskell
    •  & S. Seveso
  • Research |

    Isotopic analyses of stardust have yet to single out a specific stellar origin for it. A revision of the proton-capture rate of 17O has helped to identify intermediate mass stars (4–8 solar masses) as the source of a large fraction of meteoritic stardust.

    • M. Lugaro
    • , A. I. Karakas
    • , C. G. Bruno
    • , M. Aliotta
    • , L. R. Nittler
    • , D. Bemmerer
    • , A. Best
    • , A. Boeltzig
    • , C. Broggini
    • , A. Caciolli
    • , F. Cavanna
    • , G. F. Ciani
    • , P. Corvisiero
    • , T. Davinson
    • , R. Depalo
    • , A. Di Leva
    • , Z. Elekes
    • , F. Ferraro
    • , A. Formicola
    • , Zs. Fülöp
    • , G. Gervino
    • , A. Guglielmetti
    • , C. Gustavino
    • , Gy. Gyürky
    • , G. Imbriani
    • , M. Junker
    • , R. Menegazzo
    • , V. Mossa
    • , F. R. Pantaleo
    • , D. Piatti
    • , P. Prati
    • , D. A. Scott
    • , O. Straniero
    • , F. Strieder
    • , T. Szücs
    • , M. P. Takács
    •  & D. Trezzi
  • Research | | open

    One hypothesis for solar system formation is gas compression by a nearby supernova, whose traces should be found in isotopic anomalies. Here the authors show that this mechanism is viable only if the triggering event was a low-mass supernova, looking at short-lived 10Be and lack of anomalies in stable isotopes.

    • Projjwal Banerjee
    • , Yong-Zhong Qian
    • , Alexander Heger
    •  & W C Haxton
  • Research |

    Analysis of deep-ocean archives reveals that a few per cent of fresh 60Fe has been captured in interstellar dust and deposited in Earth’s crust, indicating that many supernova events occurred over the past ten million years within a distance of up to 100 parsecs from Earth.

    • A. Wallner
    • , J. Feige
    • , N. Kinoshita
    • , M. Paul
    • , L. K. Fifield
    • , R. Golser
    • , M. Honda
    • , U. Linnemann
    • , H. Matsuzaki
    • , S. Merchel
    • , G. Rugel
    • , S. G. Tims
    • , P. Steier
    • , T. Yamagata
    •  & S. R. Winkler
    Nature 532, 69–72

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Deep-sea sediments reveal the production sites of the heaviest chemical elements in the Universe to be neutron star mergers — rare events that eject large amounts of mass — and not core-collapse supernovae.

    • Friedrich-Karl Thielemann
    Nature Physics 11, 993–994
  • News and Views |

    By swapping the roles of the target and beam in an experiment that is otherwise impossible to implement, researchers have confirmed the doubly magic nature of the neutron-rich radioactive tin isotope 132Sn.

    • Paul Cottle
    Nature 465, 430–431