How Exploding Stars Forged the Calcium in Your Teeth

How Exploding Stars Forged the Calcium in Your Teeth

Famed astronomer Carl Sagan once said: We’re made of star-stuff. For centuries, philosophers and poets have romanticized the connection between humanity and cosmos, and it turns out they weren’t too far from the mark.

A new study has emerged which study suggests the idea that our teeth and bones may be made from calcium found in the universe. The calcium that makes up our bones and teeth might have come from stars exploding in supernovas. This resulted in smattering this material across the universe in immense measures, according to research. Scientists have found that half of the calcium in the universe also probably came from similar calcium-rich supernovas. But such explosions are extremely rare events that are very difficult to observe and analyze. So researchers weren’t sure exactly how the calcium came into being.

A Northwestern University-led team has revealed the true nature of these rare and enigmatic events. For the first time, researchers inspected a calcium-rich supernova with X-ray imaging. This provided an unparalleled glimpse into the star during the end of its life and eventual explosion. A global team of almost 70 prominent scientists from around the world collaborated on this project. They got together after receiving a tip from an amateur astronomer. The Astrophysical Journal published this study on Wednesday.

Joel Shepherd, an astronomer, noted a bright burst as he observed the spiral galaxy called Messier 100. He noticed the 55 million light-years away galaxy through his telescope in April 2019. He also reconnoitered a dot that was bright orange. Shepherd shared all these observations with the astronomy community through a survey. Further research and follow up X-Ray tests made scientists realize that the event was a calcium-rich supernova. This discovery gave a lot of fascinating data.

“The stars responsible for calcium-rich supernovae shed layers of material in the last months before the explosion,” said scientist Jacobson-Galan. He also said, “The X-rays are the result of the explosion violently colliding with this ejected material and stimulating a brilliant burst of high energy photons.” And this heat and explosion pressure sparks a chemical reaction, forming calcium.

A star upon burning through its stream of helium releases a small amount of calcium in the universe. But, a calcium-supernova releases gigantic amounts of calcium to scatter in a matter of seconds. The explosions and merging of stars create substantial metals like gold and platinum. However, this new formation of calcium is an exciting new area for scientists to discover more.

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