We are using objects made of glass day after day, and we have so many glass stuff around us that we don’t even ask ourselves where the glass comes from. Luckily, a group of scientists decided to look deeper into this matter and came up with a fascinating conclusion. According to their study, published earlier this week in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal, silica, the primary component of glass, is generated by exploding stars, also known as supernovae.
On Friday, an international team of researchers came out and said they observed silica in the debris of two distant supernovae, located several billion of light years away from Earth. The scientists employed the NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to examine the light generated by the collapse of a mega-cluster. They identified the “fingerprint” of silica, which is notable on the specific wavelength of light this material emits.
Exploding Stars, Supernovae, Produce Glass
According to the research, silica accounts for 60% of the Earth’s crust, while its particular form, the quartz, is a significant compound in the sand. Besides glass for windows and fiberglass, silica is also useful as a primary ingredient in industrial concrete. However, it seems that all this silica on Earth and other planets has the same source – exploding stars.
“We’ve shown for the first time that the silica produced by the supernovae was significant enough to contribute to the dust throughout the Universe, including the dust that ultimately came together to form our home planet. Every time we gaze through a window, walk down the pavement or set foot on a sandy beach, we are interacting with material made by exploding stars that burned millions of years ago,” explained Haley Gomez, a researcher at the Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy.
Also, in a previous study conducted in 2016, the scientists found lithium, a metal used in electronics manufacturing, in the core of exploding nova, an event that happens when a white dwarf suck up on the hydrogen of a neighboring star.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.