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The Dispersion of Elements

The Dispersion of Elements

At this site students will learn that in addition to making elements, supernovae scatter them. They learn that the elements that are made both inside the star as well as the ones created in the intense heat of the supernova explosion are spread out into the interstellar medium. These are the elements that make up stars, planets and everything on Earth including ourselves. Except for hydrogen and some helium created in the Big Bang, all of the stuff we, and the Earth around us, are made of, was generated in stars, through sustained fusion or in supernova explosions. We call the matter that fills the space between the stars, the interstellar medium (ISM). Students will understand that supernovae change the chemical composition of the ISM by adding elements which were not present before. This site also contains an exercise and links to additional information about supernovae and the life cycle of stars.


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