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Research Reveals Vital Clues about Recycling in the Evolution of Life in Our Universe

20 Sep 2019, 08:01 UTC
Research Reveals Vital Clues about Recycling in the Evolution of Life in Our Universe
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By investigating the different stages in the life journey of stars and gaining new knowledge about their evolutionary cycle, scientists at the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science have discovered more about a crucial stage in the emergence of life in our universe. Their research reveals for the first time how matter discarded as stars die is recycled to form new stars and planets.Scientists have long known that the materials that make up human life were not present during the beginnings of the universe. Elements such as carbon and oxygen form deep inside stars and are released when the stars explode. What has not been clear is what happens to these materials in the vast majority of stars which do not explode and how they are then extracted to contribute to the development of new planets and biospheres.In their paper ‘Numerical simulations of wind-driven protoplanetary nebulae – I. near-infrared emission’, which was published by the Royal Astronomical Society on 12 September, Professor Michael Smith and PhD student Igor Novikov have discovered this vital missing link. By carrying out 2-D modelling on their Forge supercomputer, which mapped the pattern of light emitted from stars under different environmental conditions, the research team ...

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