We Are All Made of Stars

February 8, 2017
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No literally, we’re all made of stardust. How? I’ve asked the same question myself. But the answer is simply this. Stars are born in heat and violence. Their lifespan will last for millions, even billions, or perhaps even trillions of years. But it’s fuel supply does not last forever. Stars die like everything else does. Take our sun for instance. It will continue to shine on us and burn hydrogen for millions of years to come. But that won’t last forever either. As time goes on, the sun will start to swell. It will continue to swell as it makes different elements and burns them in it’s core. Our sun will consume Mercury, Venus, and eventually us. It will become a red dwarf and will stay that way until it’s outer layers burn away into nothing. What will be left? A much smaller glowing white core called a white dwarf. It will have about the same density as the star. If you think about it, one teaspoon of white dwarf matter would be about five tons. That’s just our sun, it will die quietly compared to other monsters out there.
Some stars are big. REALLY BIG. Millions and billions times bigger than our sun. Their lives don’t last as long. They’ll burn for a few million years. And their death is much more violent. Over their lifespan, gravity is trying to crush them in. Their ability to burn and make energy that forces outwards keeps them alive to fight the gravity. When the fueling energy runs out, they’ll make and burn other elements too. Until they’ve made iron, and that’s when the star is doomed. Iron is the star’s killer. As soon as that’s made, the star only has seconds to live. In those seconds, the core crushes in on itself until the whole star finally gives in. And then it explodes. The explosion is called a supernova. Supernovas are some of the most powerful energetic forces in the universe. Some of them are second only to the Big Bang itself. The elements from the exploded dead star are blown to the farthest reaches of galaxies and even the universe. These elements will go on to make other stars, planets, and maybe even life. That’s how life on Earth started. And that’s how we’re all here today.

Be humble; you’re made of Earth. Be noble; you’re made of stars…

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