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Astrophysicists discover new insights from a rare supernova that gave us calcium in our bones



The calcium itself that makes up our teeth and bones comes from the last moments of dying stars. True; we are made of stardust. (Gives a whole new meaning to David Bowie’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust!)

The late Carl Sagan is known for explaining this mind-boggling truth in an episode of Cosmos. “The life and death of the stars seem impossibly distant from human experience,” Sagan said. “And yet we are connected in the most intimate way with their life cycles.”

On Wednesday, a paper published in The Astrophysical Journal revealed a new, direct insight into the true nature of the rare events thought to produce half of the calcium in our universe, including calcium in our own human bodies: calcium-rich supernovae.

Astrophysicists have long struggled to study these rare stellar explosions. But in April 201

9, an amateur astronomer named Joel Shepard noticed a bright burst, which was later called SN 2019ehk while being taken to Seattle, Washington. Shepard announced the discovery to the astronomical community, which begins when global collaboration begins, and is moving fast enough for astrophysicists to confirm that this bright spot is in fact a supernova occurring in the Messier 100 (M100), a spiral galaxy. located 55 million light years from Earth. With observations from NASA’s Swift satellite, the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the Lick Observatory in California and the Las Cambre Observatory, scientists were able to observe the supernova for another 10 hours after the explosion.

According to the document, SN 2019ehk emits the most calcium ever observed in an astrophysical event. Win Jacobson-Gallan, a freshman in the Northwest Northwest who leads the study, explained to Salon that SN 2019ehk is just one of “calcium-rich supernovae responsible for contributing to this universal calcium fraction (~ 50%).”

“Calcium-rich supernovae are generally thought to produce half of the calcium in our universe,” Jacobson-Gallan said in an email. “They are rare compared to other types of stellar explosions, but in fact these supernovae are found throughout the universe.”

However, just because these stellar events are rare does not mean that they have less of an impact on the universe. In fact, the opposite is true.

Jacobson-Galan said: “Supernovae rich in calcium (as well as stellar explosions in general) are powerful enough to create a glow comparable to their host galaxies, ie they darken their galaxies.” In part, it could be that such an explosion could travel through galaxies and be part of the creation of life here on Earth.

“So with such a powerful explosion capable of releasing so much energy, supernovae can release calcium at tremendous speeds (comparable to the speed of light) into space, and over time calcium will be recycled to create new stars, planets and so called cetera, ‘said Jacobson-Galan. “Also, numerous calcium-rich supernovae can appear in the same galaxy, so for a long time, when enough explosions occur, the galaxy may be rich in calcium, which can then be used to create stars. etc.

“The calcium produced in these explosions is (and was) essential for the creation of our planet and, as a result, organic matter such as dinosaurs and humans,” he added.

New discoveries have revealed that a calcium-rich supernova is a compact star that spills its outer layer of gas as it nears the end of its life. When a star dies, which happens in an explosion, its matter is pushed into the bulk material from the outer shell and emits bright X-rays. The combination of high pressure and hot temperatures leads to nuclear fusion, which creates calcium.

Jacobson-Galan said the revelation came about as early scientists discovered the explosion.

“We had no idea that this type of stellar explosion was capable of producing high-energy emissions, such as X-rays, so this is the result of ‘game-changing’ in terms of studying the origins of these unique explosions,” Jacobson-Gallan said.

He added that the study opens up “new avenues of study”.

“We unlocked a whole new way to study these explosions, which in turn told us that they not only produce bright X-rays, but that they probably arise from the explosion of a compact star that threw its outer layers just before death,” he said I said. “With this knowledge, we can now look for new calcium-rich supernovae and try to observe the moments after the explosion, which will allow us to really understand where they come from.”




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