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Human silhouette looking at the Milky Way galaxy at night

We Are Made of Star Stuff

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

– Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Sometimes we forget just how incredible our existence is. So here’s a quick reminder from astronomer Dr. Michelle Thaller that you are, quite literally, made of the remains of an exploded star (along with the scientific explanation for why).

(via The Kid Should See This)

  1. We Are Made of Star Stuff
    It’s certainly inspiring to remember that the atoms within our bodies were built within stars. However, have you ever noticed that whenever we are reminded that we are made of star-stuff, the emphasis is always on the atoms? There is another star-stuff that we are made of, which, to be fair, Dr. Thaller does mention, and that is the light (“free energy”) that is pouring out of the star while it’s busy building up atoms. It’s curious that this should not be an equal focus when discussing our composition, since this is the part of the star that does the actual animating. Yes, our elements were forged in previous stars, but our life-energy is flowing right out of our current star to pick up the elements and form them into all of these amazing shapes. We are sunlight walking around.

    Perhaps this is obscured a bit when we think of the solar energy as having been transformed into the chemical energy of our organisms and environment. The name change may make it seem like there is some kind of qualitative change within the energy flow. But I’m not even sure the thinking has gone that far. More likely the discussion of star-stuff has just always been about atoms, while the fact that we are all powered by the sun is understood in the background, without there being any need felt to call specific attention to it in this context.

    It is interesting to think of starlight as an “event space” within which we live…

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