Calcium in our Bones + Teeth was Created by Exploding Stars

Reinforcing the often-shared sentiment that we are all made of stars (popularized by astronomer Carl Sagan), a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal posits that half of the calcium found in the known universe—including inside human bones and teeth—originated from stars exploding in supernovas. An international team of nearly 70 scientists collaborated on the findings, after an observation of an “anomaly” by amateur astronomer Joel …

First-Ever Photo of a Solar System Like Ours

Images of exoplanets are extremely uncommon, but even more rare is an image of such a planet as part of a greater solar system like ours. Astronomers, however, have just shared one such photo captured by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope. The picture of TYC 8998-760-1, located approximately 300 light years from Earth, reveals “a Sun-like star, orbited by multiple exoplanets.” This set-up is remarkably …

Explaining Black Holes in Five Ways

Research astronomer Varoujan Gorjian (whose team at NASA is called Structure of the Universe Group) explains Black Holes to five different individuals whose understanding exists at five different levels: a five-year old, a teenager, a grad student studying astronomy, and an expert. In the fascinating video for WIRED, super-personable Gorjian begins by explaining how gravity works and ends up discussing low-luminosity active galactic nuclei. While …