Gold, silver, platinum, uranium and lead are part of the group of r-process elements, which include any element heavier than iron.


When the core of a massive star undergoes gravitational collapse at the end of its life, protons and electrons are literally scrunched together, leaving behind one of nature’s most wondrous creations, a neutron star.

Neutron stars cram roughly 1.3 to 2.5 solar masses into a city-sized sphere perhaps 20 kilometers (12 miles) across.

Matter is packed so tightly that a sugar-cube-sized amount of material would weigh more than 1 billion tons, about the same as Mount Everest.

They are named after the process used to create them, the ‘rapid neutron-capture process.’ This phenomenon was first theoretically described by nuclear physicists in 1957.

‘Understanding how heavy, r-process elements are formed is one of hardest problems in nuclear physics,’ said Professor Anna Frebel, from the Department of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

While much of the value of gold, silver and platinum comes from their scarcity on Earth, but the processes that created them also makes them special.

These elements were created when mind-bogglingly dense neutron stars crushed into each other at incredible speeds, then travelled to Earth on asteroids.

Source: Rare dwarf galaxy reveals the secrets behind how they are formed | Daily Mail Online