New discovery shows glass made from exploding stars

Silica makes up around 60 percent of the Earth's crust and one particular form, quartz, is a major ingredient of sand
Silica makes up around 60 percent of the Earth's crust and one particular form, quartz, is a major ingredient of sand

The next time you're gazing out of the window in search of inspiration, keep in mind the material you're looking through was forged inside the heart of an exploding ancient star.

An international team of scientists said Friday they had detected —the main component of glass—in the remnants of two distant supernovae billions of from Earth.

Researchers used NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to analyse the light emitted by the collapsing mega-cluster and obtain silica's "fingerprint" based on the specific wavelength of light the material is known to emit.

A supernova occurs when a large star burns through its own fuel, causing a catastrophic collapse ending in an explosion of galactic proportions. It is in these celestial maelstroms that fuse together to form many common elements, including sulphur and calcium.

Silica makes up around 60 percent of the Earth's crust and one particular form, quartz, is a major ingredient of sand.

As well as glass windows and fibreglass, silica is also an important part of the recipe for industrial concrete.

"We've shown for the first time that the silica produced by the supernovae was significant enough to contribute to the dust throughout the Universe, including the dust that ultimately came together to form our home planet," said Haley Gomez, from Cardiff University's School of Physics and Astronomy.

"Every time we gaze through a , walk down the pavement or set foot on a sandy beach, we are interacting with material made by exploding that burned millions of years ago."

In 2016, reported they had found traces of lithium—a metal used in the manufacture of many modern-day electronics—at the heart of exploding nova, a phenomenon that occurs when a white dwarf star absorbs hydrogen from a nearby sun.

The study was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


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© 2018 AFP

Citation: New discovery shows glass made from exploding stars (2018, November 16) retrieved 23 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-discovery-glass-stars.html
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Nov 17, 2018
My under standing is that every element on the periodic table besides hydrogen, helium, lithium, beryllium, and boron is created inside a star or its supernovae. And, lithium, beryllium, and boron are formed by spallation of heavier cosmic rays, which are also the product of a supernovae. . .

Pretty much leaves hydrogen and helium as the only elements not "made" by stars.

If the sun is 4.9 billion years old and the universe is "only" 14 billion years old, how did we get all this stardust to make planets in virtually every star system we examine closely enough?


Nov 17, 2018
If the sun is 4.9 billion years old and the universe is "only" 14 billion years old, how did we get all this stardust to make planets in virtually every star system we examine closely enough?


Because the first stars that formed from H had a lot of it available in a smaller volume. Massive stars have short lifetimes, and create the heavier elements for the next generation of stars. And on it goes.


Nov 17, 2018
Last I heard, there are still no confirmed sightings of the hypothetically short lived population III stars.

Nov 17, 2018
Last I heard, there are still no confirmed sightings of the hypothetically short lived population III stars.


Seems to me that you are an ignorant eejit.

Nov 17, 2018
It's all "inferred from cosmology"; in other words, just another patch on the irreconcilable Big Bang theory, along with 90% of the universe being invisible "dark" matter/energy made of mystery stuff, and a cosmological constant, etc.

Nov 17, 2018
some current models predict some smaller population III stars too, and they predict that some of the smaller ones should still be around after 14 billion years. So, there's a problem if we can't see any anywhere.

Nov 17, 2018
It's all "inferred from cosmology"; in other words, just another patch on the irreconcilable Big Bang theory, along with 90% of the universe being invisible "dark" matter/energy made of mystery stuff, and a cosmological constant, etc.


Like I said, got anything of any scientific value to add? Obviously not. So what are you doing here? Talking shite, yes? Not Amuuuurcan, are you? How's your education system getting on? No offence to any of our American friends, but f***wits like this do you no favours. Obviously a creationist in disguise.

Nov 17, 2018
@Jones, worth mentioning at this point that elements beyond iron may not be created in any appreciable quantity in supernovae; instead, they may come from neutron star binary mergers. This has been floated in an article on physorg after the observation of GW170817.

@Jax, as far as observing Population III stars, maybe you didn't notice but they're too far away for our telescopes to observe them. 13 billion light years is really far away. How long do you figure it would take to walk to the Moon if you can walk around the Earth in 5 years? How about the Sun? The answers would, I think, be rejected by you but are obvious from observational evidence and have been for centuries.

Nov 17, 2018
@Da Schneib

You completely misapprehend my criticism. The smallest ones called for in the models (smaller than our sun). should still be around, in our galaxy.

Nov 17, 2018
@jones

Who says "shite"?

The Big Bang and YEC are both creationist. That's the reason the colluding class is grant funding the Big Bang theory into reality. Along with complete hand waving over "cosmic inflation", stars that don't exist, invisible everything everywhere mystery dark energy, cosmological constants, etc, etc

The patches on that theory are ridiculous.

YEC is the even more laughable creationist alternative to Big Bang creationism. And, you are the troll pushing the dialectic narrative.

Do you suppose your descendants will be proud of all your archived social media posts when they try to get to know you?

Nov 18, 2018
The Big Bang and YEC are both creationist.


Yep, they're giving an IMPOSSIBLE question an answer, in the end based solely on red shift.

Nov 18, 2018
@O_C_C_
Yes. Of course the Big Bang is a Creationist relic that provides the answer as to HOW the Universe began and by what means/method was used/employed to stoke and then ignite the elements that would have caused such an explosion. They (scientists) were reluctant to attribute this Creation/Big Bang to Intelligent Design, so that they decided to attribute the Creation to a Nothing. Sort of like the way that Harry Potter moves his wand and mumbles a spell so that something is magically produced out of Nothing.

I thought that scientists had already known this, that they were not dealing with witchcraft spells or some form of deviltry.
But science/scientists have long insisted that the Universe and all that is in it came out of NOTHING. And this nothing had the wherewithal to take out of nothing the something that would create a Universe and all that is in it.
However, we now know that air contains molecules and atoms, so that something could come out of air. But WHO caused it?

Nov 18, 2018
-contd-
And IF the air (or whatever it was In The Beginning) had molecules and atoms already in it, WHERE and HOW did those molecules/atoms just happen to be there to provide the elements of Helium and Hydrogen that is supposed to have been readily available to ignite the first Star?

Another question is: Which came first - the Big Bang or the first Star? Creationists believe that the Big Bang was caused by an Intelligent Designer/Creator whose Plan it was to create a Universe and everything in it. Others seem to feel offended and sent off the deep end at the very idea that Intelligent Design was possible - preferring that everything came out of the great Nothing, and that there was no program, rhyme or reason as to WHY the Universe exists at all after 14billions of Earth years.

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