facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Universe's 'element factories' studied

Oct. 5, 2011 at 8:27 PM   |   Comments

TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Exploding supernovas provide windows into the history of the universe and Israeli astronomers say they've observed a record-breaking number of them.

Tel Aviv University researchers uncovered 150 supernovas in an area of the sky known as the Subaru Deep Field and say 12 of them were the most distant and ancient ever observed, a TAU release said Wednesday.

The research was done in collaboration with teams from a number of Japanese and American institutions and used the Japanese Subaru Telescope in Hawaii on the 14,000-foot summit of the extinct Mauna Kea volcano.

Supernovas are called nature's "element factories," as every element in the universe heavier than oxygen was created in the nuclear reactions occurring in supernova explosions.

Elements formed in those cosmic explosions were flung into interstellar space where they served as raw materials for new generations of stars and planets -- and everything else.

"These elements are the atoms that form the ground we stand on, our bodies, and the iron in the blood that flows through our veins," TAU astronomer Dan Maoz said.

Astronomers say by tracking the frequency and types of supernova explosions back through cosmic time they can reconstruct the universe's history of element creation.

Topics: Mauna Kea
© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth
2
Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space
3
Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time
4
Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal
5
Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback