There is gold in the sun. It has over 2 tons which is less than 1% by mass. Other than hydrogen, the sun contains many other elements and gold is among them.
How much gold is there in the sun?
The discovery of gold in the sun drew researchers’ attention and they wanted to discover exactly how much gold is present in the sun. To determine the amount of gold present in the sun, they analyzed the sun rays.
In 2014, a team lead by astrophysicist Nicolas Grevesse of the University of Liege determined the exact amount of gold in the sun. They discovered that there are only eight atoms of gold for every trillion hydrogen atoms.
This may look like a little amount of gold, but it’s a huge amount in the real sense. Considering the mass of the sun is 2 quintillion tons, thus resulting in 2.3 tons of gold worth over $100M.
Gold in the solar system
Planets starting with earth have gold and other precious metals. Other than the earth, planets in the asteroids belt (Mars and Jupiter) have a high potential for gold deposits as the formation processes are definitely higher. All in all, gold available on other planets was initially not as concentrated as gold on the earth’s surface.
On earth, gold is mainly found in volcanic regions. Since Mars has the largest volcano in the solar system, it’s believed that the processes that led to the deposition of gold on earth may have also happened on Mars. This makes it the second most promising planet after earth for gold mining.
How much gold is in the solar system?
It’s hard to quantify the amount of gold in the solar system since much is yet to be explored. Asteroids, planets and their moons, the sun all have processes that may lead to the formation of gold; thus, it’s only by thorough exploration that the amount can be quantified.
Here are some examples of what has already been discovered:
241 Germania, a single asteroid in the solar system, has $95.8 trillion of wealth. The asteroid has large deposits of precious metals such as gold.
A 2009 NASA mission to the earth’s moon (the largest natural satellite), revealed that this lunar surface has a wide variety of deposits and compounds, including rare metals such as gold.
We all know about the psyche asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter (the asteroid belt). It is believed that this massive asteroid is endowed with tons of metals such as gold, iron and nickel, that if mined, could be valued at $800 quintillion.
When it comes to earth, a decent amount of the available gold deposit has been mined, but it’s still hard to quantify the exact amount remaining. According to the US Geological Survey estimates, though, 57,000 tons of gold are left to be mined on earth.
The diminishing amount of gold on earth forced scientists and geologists to move other planets and their moons, searching for this precious metal.
Where does gold come from?
The source of gold is explained by the big bang theory, which explains the source of all other elements. In the beginning, the universe had only three elements, hydrogen, helium and lithium, which are also the lightest metals.
The second phase of metals was formed up to iron. These were formed 500 million years later when the stars started to burn. The stars contain a thermonuclear cauldron that fuses nuclei forming this second phase of elements. Once the star burns completely, it explodes, distributing these elements across the galaxy.
The stars don’t have high energy to form heavy metals beyond iron. Heavy metals such as gold are formed through r-process nucleosynthesis. This process takes place after a collision of two neutrons where one of the nuclei must be an existing seed nucleus like iron.
The seed nucleus needs to be in a neutron-rich environment to capture many neutrons quickly from the other colliding nucleus. The captured neutrons then undergo rapid radioactive decay forming protons.
When the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus shifts to a higher number, a new heavier element is formed. Gold is formed when the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus becomes 79 and 118, respectively.
The neutron collision hence explains the source of heavier elements and gold.
The initial explosion during neutron collision sent gold and other atoms formed into space. Over the years, the cloud gradually dissolved, forming an interstellar medium used in the formation of stars.
During the solar system formation, swirling clouds of interstellar gas and dust were used to form planets, the sun, the moon, and other bodies such as the asteroids.
Geochemical reactions resulted in the uneven division and distribution of gold to different parts of the solar system, including the sun and earth.
Most of the gold formed during the neutron collision sank to the earth’s core and others evaporated to space. However, later there were collisions of meteorites and asteroids on the earth’s surface, forming most of the gold that is mined today.
Why is gold important
The first property that makes this metal precious is its rarity. Gold is the rarest element and this makes its proportionality larger, resulting in high pricing.
The second thing is that gold has excellent properties, such as it doesn’t tarnish and it’s easy to work with. It has a brilliant luster which doesn’t fade even when exposed to air and it has excellent color and thus can be used to model beautiful items.
It’s malleable and ductile and thus, it can be drawn into wire or be hammered to sheets. It easily forms an alloy with other metals to enhance its qualities and can be cast and mold into any desired shape.
Gold is among one of the most coveted precious metals and people are always looking for ways to discover and mine more. Gold has played a big role in humanity and it’s often associated with richness. Most expensive items, including jewels are made from gold. Therefore, it’s quite obvious that people are always looking to producing more even though the gold deposits on the earth’s surface are limited.
The fact that gold deposits on the earth’s surface are limited leads to researchers exploring other gold sources, which eventually leads to discovering the entire solar system’s gold deposits including the sun’s.
There is gold in the sun and other planets. The solar system, which includes the sun, planets and other small bodies such as the asteroids, was formed from interstellar gas and dust. This interstellar gas was composed of gold and other elements. This gold is in very large amounts compared to the one present in earth deposits.