Lithium, like the majority of chemical elements, can trace its origins back to astrophysical phenomena, but its point of genesis was unclear. Recently, a group of researchers detected enormous quantities of beryllium-7 — an unstable element which decays into lithium — inside nova V5668 Sgr, which suggests that novae are the main source of lithium in the galaxy.
At number 10 in our top stories of the year: one of the most perplexing problems of modern cosmology and astrophysics was solved. For decades scientists had puzzled over where all the lithium in stars had disappeared to. Fortunately for the Big Bang model, Italian scientists at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste discovered that it was the stars that were to blame.
The chemical element lithium is predicted to have been created by the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. Observations of Nova Centauri 2013 show that lithium has been found for the first time in material ejected by a nova, helping to explain the mystery of why many young stars seem to have more of this chemical element than expected.