Your bones are made from supernovas
changed humanity’s perception of the Universe, and one of the minerals needed to support life — calcium.
Researchers eventually determined that the explosion, and ones like it, were responsible for the high abundance of calcium in the Universe, including all calcium on Earth, which includes your bones.
Now, scientists have been able to study one of the mysterious “calcium-rich supernovae” with X-rays for the first time.
to the world a decade ago when a low-mass white dwarf exploded. White dwarfs are stars that have been compacted into around the size of planets, creating immense amounts of pressure. Already in a delicate balance, this white dwarf was siphoning off helium from a sister star. There’s a limit to the mass a white dwarf can attain, around 1.4 times the mass of the Sun.
Too much helium created a violent shockwave, possibly destroying the star and creating an explosion that could be detected 100 million light-years away on Earth. Scientists calculated that half of the mass ejected through the explosion was calcium, and a new subclass of supernova was born.
Ten years later, their mysteries still befuddle scientists like Wynn Jacobson-Galan, a first-year Northwestern graduate student who led the current study (here is the preprint), published in Astrophysical Journal. Speaking in a press statement, Jacobson-Galan noted that these explosions “are so few in number that we have never known what produced calcium-rich supernova."
That’s why Jacobson-Galan’s team chose to explore Supernova (SN) 2019ehk, which scientists have noticed shows similarities in terms of origin ...
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