(Submitted July 06, 1997)
How could an element heavier than iron be created? I ask this question
because I read somewhere that when a star could not burn iron it exploded
into a supernovae.
When a supernova explodes, it gets hot enough to drive nuclei and particles
together. Nuclei absorb neutrons and protons and can grow to be heavier
than iron. This absorbs rather than releases energy, but there is enough
energy available in a supernova that this happens anyway.
for 'Ask an Astrophysicist'