Indian Astrophysicist solve 40 year old puzzle


The fort-year-old puzzle is about the production of Lithium in stars. An interesting story about Lithium, a light metal produced in huge around 13.7 billion years ago when Universe was formed along with other elements. The amount of Lithium is destroyed in the Universe due to an increase in the millions of other elements. The destruction is mainly due to stars. For example, our nearest start SUN has 100 times less amount of Lithium than Earth. But 40 years ago few giant stars were found to be Lithium rich. This was puzzled among astrophysicists and they tried to find if stars develop Lithium?!!

Professor Eswar Reddy, Director of India Thirty Meter Telescope Centre, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru, led a study on planet engulfment theory. This theory states that Earth-like planets increase the content of Lithium in stars when the plunge into the stars at their Red Giant stage. But he was uncomfortable with this idea he said.

Professor Eswar Reddy was working on this puzzle for about 20 years. He was working with his students to identify the amount of Lithium in a large number of stars in the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.

The new work by Bharat Kumar, currently a postdoctoral fellow at the National Astronomical Observatories of China, Beijing, and an international team of co-workers shows evidence when stars move to the Red Clump stage which is after Red Giant stage, they produce Lithium which is so-called Helium Flash.

The next study is going to be on Helium Flash and how stars produce Lithium at this stage, said Prof. Reddy.