Our Roots Trace Back to the Stars

By Adam J. Pearson


Photograph: A star-forming region of the Large Magellan Cloud. The image is from the European Space Agency.

The early universe mainly contained two chemical elements: hydrogen and helium along with trace amounts of lithium and boron. All of the other chemical elements in the modern universe were synthesized within stars by processes of nuclear fusion.

Why is this insight  important for human beings? It’s important because it means that most of the atoms that make up our bodies were formed within the great, blazing furnaces within stars. We are literally made of star materials.  Our roots trace back not only to our parents but into the depths of stars in the vastness of ancient space.

There is a sense in which, when you look into the night sky and witness the twinkling stars, you are looking at your own relatives. There is a kinship between you and the stars… you emerged as much from the womb of the stars as you did from the womb of your mother.

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