Calcium in Human Bones Are Created From Supernova, Study Reveals
When Rowan Coleman said in her novel that we are all made of stars, people might think she was only being a hopeless romantic comparing the depths of her love to stars exploding, supernova.
But that might not be the case anymore. Maybe the "We Are All Made of Stars" author was telling the truth.
The calcium in human bones and teeth came from stars exploding in supernovas, which scatters the mineral calcium across the universe.
An international team does this new study with 70 scientists after receiving a tip from an amateur astronomer.
The report says that Joel Shepherd saw a bright burst as he watched the spiral galaxy called Messier, which was 55 million light-years away.
Shepherd also saw a bright orange dot, which he soon shared with the astronomy community.
The finding shared by Shepherd went viral on the astronomer's community. They named this event of explosion SN 2019ehk.
Researchers later on, found that they had observed a calcium-rich supernova. X-rays showed new findings on the explosion and star itself.
Half of the calcium in the universe likely came from calcium-rich supernovae, according to a CNN report.
However, these explosions are considered to be rare occurrences, and scientists are finding it challenging to observe and analyze the incident. This is why they are not sure how calcium was created in these explosions.
Aside from calcium, explosions of stars are also known to make other elements such as gold and platinum.
"Observing supernovae within hours of the explosion is the new 'it' thing in our field right now," said Wynn Jacobson-Galan, study author, was quoted in a report.
Jacobson-Galan also said that the supernova revealed that when you discover something young, you can access the final moments of the star's life before the explosion.
"The stars responsible for calcium-rich supernovae shed layers of material in the last months before explosion," Jacobson-Galan said.
The researchers said that the heat and pressure from the explosion creates a chemical reaction, making calcium.
The research said that each star produces only a small amount of calcium, but when a calcium-rich supernova happens, lots of calcium are made and released in the universe in seconds.
Jacobson-Galan said that calcium-rich supernovae produce just enough additional calcium in the explosion. He added that nature chooses that path of least resistance, and calcium provides that path when enough of it is present in a star explosion.
The researchers said the SN 2019ehk was the most calcium-rich ever observed in one event.
Raffaella Margutti, senior study author and assistant professor of physics and astronomy in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, said the event was not the most calcium-rich event. It was the richest of the rich.
Jacobson-Galan said the Hubble Space Telescope had observed this galaxy for the last 25 years. However, it never actually registered the specific star that caused the calcium-rich explosion.
He said that it was because the star was very faint.
Margutti said without the explosion; nothing could be seen there, adding that the Hubble can not even see it.
"We are designing observing strategies that would allow us to find a supernova when they are very young (and faint) and immediately repoint the X-ray spacecraft to catch the bright but short-lived X-ray emission," Margutti was quoted.
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