Writing in the latest issue of the Astrophysical Journal, an international team of researchers says they have used X-rays for the first time to study a calcium-rich supernova, showing that half of the calcium in the universe, including those in our teeth and bones, is produced by the explosion of dying stars, the PhysicistSonline reported.
An art concept map of calcium-rich supernova SN2019ehk. The outer layer is the gas that escapes before the star explodes, and the middle layer is the calcium-rich substance produced in the explosion, producing bright X-rays when the material collides with a supernova shock wave.
Supernovae are a violent explosion that certain stars experience as they evolve toward near death. In the latest study, the calcium-rich supernova, named SN2019ehk, was first discovered by amateur astronomer Joel Shepherd of the United States, located in the Messier 100 (M100) galaxy, a spiral galaxy 55 million light-years from Earth.
The star explosion, known as the Calcium-rich supernova, is so rare that astrophysicists have been trying to find and study them. However, the “personality characteristics” of these supernovae and their calcium-producing mechanismremains remain unsolved.
Now, a team of scientists from 15 countries and regions, led by scientists at Northwestern University in the United States, may have uncovered the truth about these rare and mysterious events: They used X-rays for the first time to photograph calcium-rich supernova SN2019ehk, providing an unprecedented opportunity to study the last month of life and the final explosion of a star.
The team used NASA’s Swift satellite, the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, and other places to observe the supernova with X-rays 10 hours after it burst, and later found very bright images of the supernova’s X-ray images, which they believe is calcium-rich transients.
The new findings suggest that the calcium-rich supernova is a dense star that releases a layer of gas in the final moments of its life. When a star explodes, its own material collides with the outer layer of gas, releasing bright X-rays. The high temperature and high pressure caused by the entire explosion drive the chemical reaction to produce calcium.
The researchers explain that although all calcium comes from stars, calcium-rich supernovae are the largest source of calcium. Ordinary stars slowly produce small amounts of calcium by burning helium, while calcium-rich supernovae produce large amounts of calcium in seconds. “Releasing calcium is a way for supernovae to release energy to cool down.”
The universe sounds grand and distant, but don’t forget that everyone is in it. Not just the calcium in our teeth and bones, but many other atoms in our bodies are inextricably linked to the River Of Sepulchre. Every time we breathe the oxygen atoms we breathe, the decay of ancient stars; the water in our bodies, made up of oxygen and hydrogen atoms; and hydrogen atoms come from clouds of subatomic particles after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. So, don’t say that the stars have nothing to do with you, and countless atoms from them have long been “godly” in human life.