Sun like stars hold key for Li increase in the Universe

3 min read

News: Scientists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics(IIA) have provided evidence for the first time that Lithium(Li) production is common among low mass Sun-like stars during their Helium (He) core burning phase.

Facts:

  • About the Study: Scientists performed a large-scale systematic investigation of the ‘He-flash’ (on-set of He-ignition at the star’s core via violent eruption) at the end of the star’s core hydrogen-burning phase.
  • Outcome of Study: He-flash has been identified as the source of Li production suggesting that all low-mass stars undergo Li production.
    • Our Sun will reach this phase in about 6-7 billion years and will manufacture Li.
  • Significance of the study: The study challenges the long-held idea that stars only destroy lithium and indicates that there is some physical process missing in stellar theory.

Additional Facts:

  • Lithium(Li): The origin of much of the Lithium can be traced to the Big-Bang that happened about 13.7 billion years ago.
    • Over the course of time, Lithium content in the universe has increased by about a factor of four which is meagre compared to the rest of the elements which grew about a million times.
  • Usage of Lithium: 
    • Lithium is a light inflammable metal which is mainly used in lithium-ion(Li-ion) batteries.
    • It is also used in mental health.Lithium carbonate is a common treatment of bipolar disorder helping to stabilize wild mood swings caused by the illness.
  • Lithium Triangle: It is a region of the Andes rich in lithium reserves around the borders of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.The area is thought to hold around 54% of the world’s lithium reserves.