Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You're stardust

Don't worry, it's not the name of a song or a poem.
But do you ever stop and think that everything around you has once been inside a star?

Stars generate energy through the process of fusion, this is, the joining of two atoms with the release of energy. Initially, the mass of the star is mostly constituted of Hydrogen:
Which works as fuel - fusing two of them together will give out an atom of Helium:

Pressure nearer to the core of the star might even start forcing Helium to fuse with itself or other things, creating heavier elements. Eventually, and as hydrogen becomes scarce as a fuel source, elements will combine to form heavier stuff, such as the all important (for life) carbon atoms, oxygen, silicon, iron.

Once a star runs out of things to fuse together to produce energy, many things can happen, depending mostly on the size of the stars, but most will go out with a bang. Stars with the size of our sun will swell up to a red giant and then expel the outer layers, which will form a small nebula, leaving a small dense core called a white dwarf floating around.

More massive stars will be a lot more violent when dying, creating a supernova, the most energetic explosion man has ever witnessed, scattering these elements all over the place where they can gather together as part of a planetary disk for a future star.

You don't want to be around when this happens

So next time you look at a chair and say "it's just a chair", remember, it came from a dying star.

Trivia of the day:
An action will create an equal, opposite reaction (third law of Newton)


  1. Very interesting, I remember this being told/referenced in Mario Galaxy 1 and 2!

  2. I did enjoy the lecture. Very well condensed.
    So, we can conclude that,in a certain way, everybody is a little bit of a star...

  3. We are all products of atoms fucking into bigger atoms who fucked into moleculs and so on :D

  4. astronomy is always interesting no matter what aspect of it you talk about

  5. very interesting read, didn't know that everything "came" from a dying star.

  6. I freakin' love this. very interesting.

  7. Very interesting! The formation of stars is really confusing and interesting at the same time. Yet, I always question.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Interesting stuff, forget Jesus dying for us, the stars died for us to be here.

  10. Very interesting, but it's "just" a chair! :P

  11. its nice to know how elements are formed )

  12. I very much like how you simply and succinctly mapped out how everything comes from star dust as well as the life of stars. You seem to have summed it up very well for my mind to wrap itself around. Thank you very much for your post. Good job!