Calcium in Human Bones Came from Exploding Stars, Study Finds

Researchers revealed that large amount of calcium used to get scattered across the universe when a supernova explodes

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A new study report has suggested that the calcium present in human bones and teeth might have most likely come from exploding stars and supernova in the universe. This calcium in bulk quantities might have scattered across the universe, and thus it reached the earth too.

Amateur Astronomer Helped to Make this Conclusion

This new study is conducted by an international team comprised of 70 scientists after they received a tip from an amateur astronomer. It was in April 2019 that Joel Shepherd observed a bright burst in the spiral galaxy named Messier 100, which is located almost 55 million light-years away. The amateur astronomer also spotted a bright orange dot, and he soon shared this observation with the astronomy community.

The finding made by Shepherd soon went viral on the astronomers' community, and they named this event of explosion SN2019ehk.

Further studies on this event made researchers realize that they had observed a calcium-rich supernova. Researchers who took part in the study noted that the heat and pressure of the explosion had actually driven the chemical reaction that creates calcium.

Rich of the Richest Calcium Scattering

In usual cases, a small amount of calcium will be released when stars burn up, but when a supernova explodes, a huge quantity of calcium gets scattered across space in a matter of seconds.

"The stars responsible for calcium-rich supernovae shed layers of material in the last months before explosion. The X-rays are the result of the explosion violently colliding with this ejected material and stimulating a brilliant burst of high energy photons," said Wynn Jacobson-Galan, first-year Northwestern graduate student and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and the study author, CNN reports.

Researchers also noted that SN 2019ehk emitted the most calcium ever observed in a single event. Raffaella Margutti, senior study author and assistant professor of physics and astronomy in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences revealed that SN 2019ehk was not just calcium-rich, but it is actually richest of the rich.