Sunday, April 15, 2012

How to make iron (1) Star dust!

Heavenly factory of elements

My studies of everything in this blog hs progressed much thanks to the finding of an excellent teacher, the STARS Web pages of Professor James B. Kaler.

God of Israel making Sun out of a freezing cold cloud of hydrogen molecules seemed me a great wonder and I am not yet sure what is the current explanation to this miracle - from cold mother cloud to bright and extremely hot Sun, "His sun" - as Lord Jesus puts it.

But how are heavier elements made? How to make iron?

I did not know and - to be honest - did not even ask that question before starting my personal exploration of space studies. Iron is iron, what is the big deal, matter and energy or something... And I did not make any connection between iron and those tiny bright dots on the night sky which are burning hydrogen into helium.

Stellar astronomy gives us an astounding answer to the question of how to make iron 

All heavier elements are made in the stars! 

Those amazing creations of God are factories that produce from the most basic element, single atom hydrogen, the material elements the cosmos is made of. As Carl Sagan put it poetically, we are all made of star dust!

Making iron or carbon or silicon or uranium is a highly complex process and true work of a genius. It has taken humanity all these years and many exceptional scholars to work it out after Albert Einstein paved the way.

Modern astronomy tells us not only that iron is made in extreme conditions at the heat of millions of Kelvins (does not succeed from us humans on earth) but that switching to the making of iron is of crucial importance in the evolution of stars.

In order to understand God's great creations, the stars, we need to study God's tiny creations - called atoms by Democritus - and even their sub-particles!

The picture stellar astronomy gives today, 2012, begins to be rather comprehensive at least considering the making of the elements in the Periodic Table. But be ready for big surprises, nuclear sciences and astronomy and cosmology are developing at great speed and today's top knowledge maybe tomorrow antiquated and partly even incorrect.

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