Lithium-rich giant stars discovered in space
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Space
- Researchers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have discovered hundreds of Li-rich giant stars in space.
- The discovery indicates that Lithium (Li) is being produced in the stars.
- The production, thus, accounts for its abundance in the interstellar (situated between stars) medium.
- Lithium enhancement is also being associated with central Helium (He) burning stars, also known as red clump giants.
- This association could open up new vistas in the evolution of the red giant stars.
- This is an important discovery that will help to eliminate many proposed theories such as planet engulfment during the red giant evolution in which helium at the center is not burning.
- Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science &Technology.
Important value additions:
- Lithium (Li), is one of the three primordial (from the beginning) elements apart from Hydrogen (H) and Helium (He),
- They were produced in the big bang nucleosynthesis (BBN).
- In general, stars are considered as Li sinks.
- This means that the original Li, with which stars are born, only gets depleted over stars’ life-time.