Classical Nova Explosions are Major Lithium Factories

Using the Subaru Telescope High Dispersion Spectrograph, a team of astronomers observed Nova Delphini 2013 and discovered that its outburst produces a large amount of lithium. Lithium is the third lightest element following hydrogen and helium. It is a key element in the study of the chemical evolution of the universe because it likely was and is produced in several ways: through Big Bang nucleosynthesis, inside stellar interiors, and as a result of novae and supernovae explosions. Subaru’s new observation provides the first direct evidence for the supply of lithium from stellar objects to the galactic medium. Astronomers hope to deepen the understanding of galactic chemical evolution, given that nova explosions must be important suppliers of lithium in the current universe.