Learn how elements heavier than iron may be formed by the collision of neutron stars, in this video from NOVA: Treasures of the Earth: Metals. Elements lighter than iron are formed by nuclear fusion within stars. However, elements heavier than iron are likely formed during the death of stars such as during a supernova explosion or the collision of two neutron stars. The elements formed by stars are distributed throughout the universe and were incorporated into Earth when it formed. Elements may also have been delivered to Earth by asteroids and comets.
This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.
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