Phosphorus made in supernovas, study confirms

3

Phosphorus, a key ingredient in your DNA and bones, was originally made in exploding stars, a new study confirms.

Levels of phosphorus 100 times higher than in other parts of the Milky Way have been found in the remains of a supernova called Casseiopeia A, providing strong evidence that the phosphorus was created by the stellar explosion, reports a new study published Thursday online in Science.

Phosphorus is one of the six essential elements for life. The others are hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and makes up most of the gas in young stars like our sun. The other essential elements, other than phosphorus, had been measured in and were confirmed to originate from nuclear processes inside stars, including supernovas.

Theoretically, phosphorus should also come from nuclear reactions inside a star, said Dae-Sik Moon, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Toronto who co-authored the paper.

Written By: Emily Chung
continue to source article at cbc.ca

3 COMMENTS

  1. Phosphorus, a key ingredient in your DNA and bones, was originally made in exploding stars, a new study confirms.

    If up to element iron (Fe-56) nuclear fusion is exothermic, a star can make P-31 before it explodes. That’s thermodynamically feasible. So what impedes the generation of phosphorous inside a star – kinetic factors (activation energies)?

  2. I don’t understand how the method described in the article that proves Phosphorus was created by the supernova explosion itself. What if the Phosphorus was also being created toward the end of the supergiant star’s life?

    Seems like a better method would be to compare the Ph content of the nebula with the Ph content of a similar supergiant near the end of it’s life.

  3. This interesting as a mapping of local concentrations of heavy elements within the galaxy. The metalicity varies greatly according to the history of star sizes and supernova explosions in each part of the galaxy. That determines the proportions of the atomic mix of any planets or stars in that area.

Leave a Reply