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In all the discussions about how the heavy elements in the universe are forged in the guts of stars and especially during a stars death, I usually hear that once the star begins fusing lighter atoms to produce Iron (Fe) that's the end of the star's life and the whole system collapses onto itself and based on how massive the star was initially it has different outcomes like a white dwarf, a neutron star or a black hole.

I have rarely heard a detailed explanation of how the elements heavier than Iron are produced. I would appreciate a convincing explanation of this process.

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Elements heavier than iron are only produced during supernovae; in these extreme energetic conditions atoms are bombarded by a very large number of neutrons. Rapid successive neutron capture, followed by beta decay, produces the heavier atoms. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova_nucleosynthesis.

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Inside a star there are two primitive force competing with each other. 1st is the gravitational force which attracts the star's mass towards its core and shrinking the star, due to which the temprature and pressure increases and nuclear fusion stars which releases energy applying a outward radiation pressure(IInd force) balancing the gravitation force and saves the star from shrinking and exploding. any star do not have enough pressure and temperature to convert the nucleus of iron to further elements (by nuclear fusion). so the nuclear fusion inside the star stops. so the gravitasional force overcomes the radiation pressure and the star shrinks and explodes known as supernova explosion and that explosion has enough Temp. and Pressure to form all the further nuclei from iron. 90% of the star's masses gets distributed in space(Starting of a new universe) and the remaning 10% mass forms a neutron star (having no charge).

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