New Stable Elements May Have Been Found

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Now a team at the University of Arizona in Tucson has made a mystifying and “exciting” discovery while analyzing an incredibly dense asteroid named 33 Polyhymnia. The asteroid — named after the Greek muse of sacred hymns — is so dense that researchers theorize that it may be made up of elements not contained on the periodic table.

In a study published in mid-September in The European Physical Journal Plus, researchers concluded that Polyhymnia has a measured density higher than those of any elements known to exist on Earth.

Eric Lagatta
October 19, 2023
Study: Asteroid known as Polyhymnia may contain ‘superheavy’ elements unknown to humans

It may be “interesting” trying to bring back samples. Imagine trying to use a stick to scrape a sample off the turret of a modern tank. That asteroid is going to be an alloy of some sort…

We live in interesting times.


13 thoughts on “New Stable Elements May Have Been Found

  1. It’d be nice, but I highly doubt they’ve identified anything composed of stable transuranium elements. If it’s more dense than average, then more than likely it’s composed of higher concentrations of heaver than iron elements. Iron is atomic weight 26. Stuff in the 74 to 80 range would do it handily — Tungsten to Mercury.

    • Very true. Gold is denser than Lead, Tungsten is somewhere around Gold, as I have read of people cheating people with gold-plated Tungsten Bars instead of Gold bars.
      Osmium is the densest element as I remember from the periodic table in High School Chemistry. Not that we ever used it in class, or even discussed it, but my friend and I looked for the densest elements one day.

  2. See’ins how elements are just collections of protons, neutrons, and electrons. It’s cool.
    But wake me up when they find something more dense than say Kamala Harris, or your average communist/gun controller want-to-be.
    Somone that thinks we should be fighting pikers like Hamas with aircraft carriers over 1400 people murdered.
    And completely forgetting the genocide on our own streets? Over a 100,000 dead a year from OD? (Russia is having a hard time racking up those numbers!) Cartels be like chopping folks up and slaving people out like no one in history. And nobody got nothing on the abortion industry when it comes to chop kids heads off. And parting out bodies like Necros from hell.
    People that dense? That asteroid gonna bounce off of.

  3. Forging elements denser than, say, Osmium would take a heck of a furnace! I believe that iron is about the heaviest element that can be created by normal fusion in a star. The heavier stuff is formed by novas and supernovas. If there’s something heavier yet, it’ll be interesting to speculate on the source – superdupernovas? Some kind of ejection from a black hole? Alien metallurgists?

  4. This super-heavy element claim is based on a single density estimate of 33 Polyhymnia made by Benoit Carry in 2012. Carry himself stated in his paper that the figure is not reliable, because the asteroid’s gravitation effect on other bodies is too small and difficult to detect for reliable estimates.

    • I was wondering about that. The article certainly didn’t give any clues about the “very heavy” notion. Then again, the actual article wasn’t so much about asteroids as about the possibility that there might be a “stable island” in the far end of the periodic table. That is not a new notion at all; I remember hearing about it 50 or so years ago. The difficulty is the experimental confirmation.

      As for osmium, it’s an interesting element; the only one with valence +8. And as I recall, OsO4 is used for “fixing” the samples in electron microscopy, though I don’t know about the details. It’s pretty expensive, too, though not quite as bad as iridium.

  5. That is indeed interesting.

    There are theories that predict that some superheavy stable elements might exist, far beyond anything that’s been done so far.

    It would be very interesting if we could get some samples somehow & see what’s in them. Maybe we’ll have to reconsider some of what we think we know about things. Or maybe not. Depends on what we find.

    And, of course, what does it do? Can we make more? Is it radioactive? Where did it come from? Besides fishing sinkers, what can we make out of it? How does it interact with biological systems?

    • Why, buckshot of course! If it’s stable, it wouldn’t necessarily be radioactive, in fact that’s pretty much the definition of stable.

      • If soft enough, it could also be used for high ballistic coefficient bullets. If very hard, then AP rounds.

  6. The only way to remotely measure the mass of an asteroid is if it has a natural satellite. Otherwise, all there is to work with is a speck of light. Measure the spectrum, guess the composition of the surface, estimate how much light it reflects, calculate how big it has to be to result in the brightness we see. Many of these have a fudge factor large enough to delight Lizzo.

  7. Sheer guesswork in the hopes of conning someone somewhere out of “grant” money. There is simply NO WAY to accurately judge the actual mass of an asteroid hundreds of thousands or more likey MILLIONS of miles away from us.

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