Supernovae versus neutron star mergers as the major r-process sources

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I show that recent observations of r-process abundances in metal-poor stars are difficult to explain if neutron star mergers (NSMs) are the major r-process sources. In contrast, such observations and meteoritic data on 182Hf and 129I in the early solar system support a self-consistent picture of r-process enrichment by supernovae (SNe). While further theoretical studies of r-process production and enrichment are needed for both SNe and NSMs, I emphasize two possible direct observational tests of the SN r-process model: gamma rays from the decay of r-process nuclei in SN remnants and surface contamination of the companion by SN r-process ejecta in binaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L67-L70
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - May 1 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I thank Petr Vogel and Jerry Wasserburg for many discussions on the r-process. I am also grateful to the referee, Friedel Thielemann, for detailed criticisms that helped improve this Letter. This work was supported in part by the Department of Energy under grant DE-FG02-87ER40328.


  • Galaxy: evolution
  • Nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances
  • Stars: neutron
  • Supernovae: general


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