The entire world, buildings, streets, trees, meadows, hills and sheep, our entire planet, ourselves included, almost all of it with the exception of hydrogen, is the product of nuclear fusion. That is when two atoms of hydrogen fuse together in a star into an atom of helium and a lot of energy which we can see as light. Later two atoms of helium produce an atom of beryllium still further an atom of beryllium and an atom of helium produce an atom of carbon. And so on and so forth, there are many different fusion processes and reactions each time producing different elements and large quantities of energy - that is why stars shine. Some elements, especially those heavier (from oxygen up - and thus almost everything around us), were formed in collapsing and exploding stars called supernova. Thus almost all elements are in fact the ash from shining and often dying and exploding stars. We are indeed stardust! Come this Ash Wednesday to take this reality in and celebrate this awesome, transformative miracle of creation; ash and new life, the end encoded with fresh hope.
|The remnants of supernova called Crab Nebula (By NASA, ESA, J. Hester and A. Loll). |
The cloud is now 64,660,000,000,000 miles across and expands 930 miles per second.