from the uplifting-story dept.
Lithium, the lightest solid element, is created during astrophysical phenomena, but its origin has been elusive. Recently, a group of researchers detected enormous quantities of beryllium-7, an unstable element that decays into lithium in 53.2 days, inside nova Sagittarii 2015 N.2, which suggests that novae are the main source of lithium in the galaxy.
Practically every chemical element has an astronomical origin. Light elements were formed between 10 seconds and 20 minutes after the Big Bang, including hydrogen (75%), helium (25%) and a very small amount of lithium and beryllium.
The remaining chemical elements were formed in stars, either through fusion of other elements inside the nucleus, which begins with the fusion of hydrogen into helium, and produces increasingly heavy elements until iron forms. Other processes such as supernovae explosions or reactions in the atmospheres of giant stars produce gold, lead and copper, among others. Those elements were in turn recycled into new stars and planets, until the present time.
Luca Izzo, researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), says, "But lithium posed a problem: We knew that 25 percent of existing lithium comes from primordial nucleosynthesis, but we were not able to trace the origins of the remaining 75 percent."
So that's why the hoverboards and Samsung Galaxy Note 7's have been exploding...