For decades, science popularizers have said humans are made of stardust, and now, a new survey of 150,000 stars shows just how true the old cliché is: Humans and their galaxy have about 97 percent of the same kind of atoms, and the elements of life appear to be more prevalent toward the galaxy’s center, the research found.

The crucial elements for life on Earth, often called the building blocks of life, can be abbreviated as CHNOPS: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. For the first time, astronomers have cataloged the abundance of these elements in a huge sample of stars.

The astronomers evaluated each element’s abundance through a method called spectroscopy; each element emits distinct wavelengths of light from within a star, and they measured the depth of the dark and bright patches in each star’s light spectrum to determine what it was made of. [The Milky Way: A Traveler’s Guide]

The researchers used stellar measurements from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s (SDSS) Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) spectrograph in New Mexico. APOGEE can peer through the dust in the Milky Way because it uses infrared wavelengths, which pass through dust.

“This instrument collects light in the near-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum and disperses it, like a prism, to reveal signatures of different elements in the atmospheres of stars,” Sloan representatives said in a statement.

“A fraction of the almost 200,000 stars surveyed by APOGEE overlap with the sample of stars targeted by the NASA Kepler mission, which was designed to find potentially Earth-like planets,” the statement added. “The work presented today focuses on ninety Kepler stars that show evidence of hosting rocky planets, and which have also been surveyed by APOGEE.”

Although humans share most elements with the stars, the proportions of those elements differ between humans and stars. For example, humans are about 65 percent oxygen by mass, whereas oxygen makes up less than 1 percent of all elements measured in space (such as in the spectra of stars).

The six most common elements of life on Earth (including more than 97 percent of the mass of a human body) are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and phosphorus. Those same elements are abundant at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Credit: Dana Berry/SkyWorks Digital Inc.; SDSS collaboration

The proportion of each element of life differed depending on the region of the galaxy in which it was found. For example, the sun resides on the outskirts of one of the Milky Way’s spiral arms. Stars on the outskirts of the galaxy have fewer heavy elements required for life’s building blocks, such as oxygen, than those in more central regions of the galaxy.

“It’s a great human-interest story that we are now able to map the abundance of all of the major elements found in the human body across hundreds of thousands of stars in our Milky Way,” Jennifer Johnson, the science team chair of the SDSS-III APOGEE survey and a professor at The Ohio State University, said in the statement. “This allows us to place constraints on when and where in our galaxy life had the required elements to evolve, a sort of ‘temporal galactic habitable zone.'”



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John Mcguigan · July 12, 2017 at 11:48 am

Who gives a fuck?
Do people actually get paid for this pish?
Let me know when people are made from mars bars, I might get into cannibalism

Mclarney Damien · July 12, 2017 at 9:24 am

You mean Earth Dirt!

Ron Gerrald · July 12, 2017 at 2:16 am

If the Big Bang theory is true, then any being in the Universe is made of similar matter which means we are related somehow through an explosion .

Gar Eoff · July 12, 2017 at 1:37 am

Our body’s made of common stardust, but our souls are pure God…

John Boyersmith · July 12, 2017 at 12:49 am

I have always liked this subject were made from star dust that is trillions of years old and as we get older we are getting younger because we’re already trillions of year old get it!

Griggins Timothy · July 11, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Stars are holograms so..gogo matrix

John Garvin · July 11, 2017 at 9:32 pm

O.k, what powers do I have

Gundars Eņģels · July 11, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Can stardust Bleed ? dont think so… This one’s Far fetched…

Lucy Lucy-laisa Bruni · July 11, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Sure we’re.

June Colon · July 11, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Everything is made from Stardust

Uvaraj Paranjothy Borah Sithiah · July 11, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Think God must have said mud accidently instead of star dust

Uvaraj Paranjothy Borah Sithiah · July 11, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Only humas is it ????
Then what about animals ?????

Aaron Sentes · July 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm

We are all made of star stuff
Since stardust atoms are the heavier elements, the percentage of star mass in our body is much more impressive. Most of the hydrogen in our body floats around in the form of water. The human body is about 60% water and hydrogen only accounts for 11% of that water mass. Even though water consists of two hydrogen atoms for every oxygen, hydrogen has much less mass. We can conclude that 93% of the mass in our body is stardust. Just think, long ago someone may have wished upon a star that you are made of.

Bismark Odida · July 11, 2017 at 6:45 pm

From dust you come to dust you will return.

Arod Rod · July 11, 2017 at 6:04 pm

No, you are made from seamen…..

Sandi Logar · July 11, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Yes!! Im 100% alien

Vania Toledo · July 11, 2017 at 5:18 pm

I knew it can I just say fairy dust instead? Please!;)

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