Monday, 19 January 2015

Stardust from Exploding Stars

    In 1054, Chinese astronomers saw a brilliant new star.

    They described it as six times brighter than the planet Venus.
    This "guest star," as the Chinese called it, was so bright that people saw it in the sky during the day for almost a month. 

When telescopes were able to investigate the area of the sky where the 'guest star' had been seen, there was a glowing gas cloud.

The remains of the star were named the Crab Nebula, a cloudy, glowing mass of gas and dust about 7,000 light-years away from Earth.

This type of explosion is called a supernova and happens when the star collapses.

Heavy elements are made in supernova events, and those elements are then part of the clouds that collect to make new stars and planets.

This is why scientists say "We are stardust".

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