Ever wonder how the gold for your wedding ring was created? Or the platinum encasing your Rolodex watch? Scientists attempting to replicate the creation of these heavy “r-process” elements have always failed, because the amount of energy required is far beyond what is available to any laboratory. Now, however, researchers at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, analyzing starlight from the Reticulum II dwarf galaxy, have determined that r-process elements very likely arise from the collisions of neutron stars early in the histories of Reticulum II and other small galaxies.

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