Technology with attitude

Heavy Metal Stars Located

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NOT heavy metal stars, but heavenly bodies all the same
This is pretty rad, because, well, science is fucking cool, people.

According to this paper, two stars — labeled HE 2359-2844 and HE 1256-2738 — have surfaces containing 10,000 times more lead than is present on the surface of the Sun.

They’re calling them “heavy-metal stars.”

HE 2359-2844 is a subdwarf located at a distance of 800 light-years away in the constellation of Sculptor, for those who care.

The star HE 1256-2738 is located about 1,000 light years away in the constellation of Hydra.

The scientists — using observations from the archives of the ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile — identified a few features in spectra of both stars that did not match any atoms expected to be present. After some detective work, they realized that the features were due to lead.

Lead is one of the heaviest naturally-occurring elements, and in the Sun, there is less than one lead atom for every ten billion hydrogen atoms. A little factoid for you there. Never know when you might be on “Jeopardy.”

At around 38,000 degrees Celsius, the surfaces of HE 2359-2844 and HE 1256-2738 are so hot that three electrons are removed from every lead atom. You’d be toast within milliseconds of touching the surface, which is fucking metal.

The newly discovered stars form a new group of “heavy metal subdwarfs.”

Dr Naslim Neelamkodan from Armagh Observatory, the lead on the study, said his colleagues explained that “the heavy-metal stars are a crucial link between bright red giants, stars thirty or forty times the size of the Sun, and faint blue subdwarfs, stars one fifth the size, but seven times hotter and seventy times brighter than the Sun.”

Metal. Crucial.

Indeed.