Nuclear astrophysics

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

News and Comment

  • Comments & Opinion |

    Nuclear physics experiments give reaction rates that, via modelling and comparison with primordial abundances, constrain cosmological parameters. The error bars of a key reaction, D(p,γ)3He, were tightened in 2020, revealing discrepancies between different analyses and calling for more accurate measurements of other reactions.

    • Cyril Pitrou
    • , Alain Coc
    •  & Elisabeth Vangioni
  • News & Views |

    The cosmic origin of the heaviest elements in the periodic table remains a mystery. Estimates of the physical locations of element-producing events within small galaxies that formed in the early Universe are now providing new clues.

    • Anna Frebel
    •  & Rebecca Surman
    Nature Astronomy 4, 564-565
  • News & Views |

    One of the fundamental radioactive decay modes of nuclei is β decay. Now, nuclear theorists have used first-principles simulations to explain nuclear β decay properties across a range of light- to medium-mass isotopes, up to 100Sn.

    • Arnau Rios
    Nature Physics 15, 425-426
  • News & 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 & 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