Everyday things we tend to take for granted… the warmth of the sun, our own moon, and even the jewelry we wear. All of these things are the result of physics that started billions of years ago and is continuing on today. From the Big Bang to the collapse of stars… our universe is constantly changing and creating new stars, solar systems, and worlds.
From the death of stars, the potential for life is born. Stars are in a constant tug-of-war battle. The exploding fusion reaction of a star is in a delicate balancing act against the immense gravity crushing down on the star’s core. Eventually, gravity wins out in this epic struggle. The death of a star occurs when gravity keeps compressing and creating heavier and heavier elements within its core. Once a star creates the element iron at it’s core, the death of the star has begun. Iron stops the fusion reaction occurring within the star. In a matter of seconds, the star goes super-nova, gravity finally overtakes the fusion reaction and the star collapses. This collapse happens so suddenly, the inner core literally turns inside out, changing places with the outer perimeter of the star. As the star explodes, spewing matter hundreds of millions of miles into space, heavier elements are created… among these are silver, gold, and platinum. The light emitted from the super-nova briefly outshines an entire galaxy. This burst of radiation can send exploding material at a velocity about one-tenth the speed of light. The mass that’s left after the collapse of a super-nova is called a neutron star. They are the smallest and densest stars known in the universe.
So, as you go about your daily routines… take a moment to reflect upon all that is around you. The sun, waging a constant war against gravity… will one day die. Life on Earth, made possible with water molecules emitted from stars and carried to Earth via comets… our moon, the result of a long ago collision of Theia with Earth… gave us tides which helps in the cycles of life on our planet. Life, our world, and the jewelry we wear… all came about from the death of stars.