As wonderful because it sounds, we are able to use nuclear idea to know the situations of the universe when it was solely a dozen minutes outdated. In that inferno, the lightest components – hydrogen, helium, and lithium – received their begin. Astronomers have been in a position to examine the expected abundances of these components to what they see all through the universe, and all the pieces matches up…besides lithium.
It’s referred to as the “cosmological lithium drawback” as a result of that’s precisely what it’s. We all know that this story of the Huge Bang is basically appropriate, so the place did all of the lithium do?
Wherever it’s, it’s not in stars or interstellar gasoline clouds – we checked there.
And now a brand new survey by a workforce of astronomers with College of North Carolina Chapel Hill, College of Montreal and Los Alamos Nationwide Laboratory suppose they’ve the reply: white dwarves.
Utilizing the Southern Astrophysical Analysis Telescope, the astronomers noticed two very outdated white dwarf methods, whose planets fashioned over 9 billion years in the past. These planets are lengthy gone, destroyed when their mother or father stars changed into white dwarfs.
However then items of these planets crashed into the white dwarfs, the place the astronomers discovered indicators of rather more lithium than regular.
So probably the lacking lithium of the universe is sure up in planets and asteroids, and may solely make itself seen to astronomers when these objects find yourself crashing into their mother or father stars. Solely extra observations will inform, and perhaps we’ll lastly discover all that lithium.