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Astronomers Prove Humans Are Made Of Stardust

First Posted: Jan 17, 2017 05:47 AM EST

Humans are indeed one with the universe and a new study provides a scientific explanation for that.

Space.com reported that astronomers at Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) in New Mexico surveyed 150,000 stars to find out just how true is the saying: humans are made of stardust. They found out that 97 percent of human atoms also make up the Milky Way galaxy, which confirms the popular yogi saying of being one with the cosmos.

For the study, scientists at SDSS used the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) spectrograph to look through the dust in the Milky Way via infrared wavelengths that pass through the particles.

According to the Sloan statement, "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."

Humans and stars may share the same elements: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, iron, calcium and sulfur. However, it is the proportions of these elements that set them apart. While the mass of humans are made up of 65 percent oxygen, this element is just less than 1 percent present in the composition of a star.

According to Scholastic.com, a star is ultimately made up of 87 percent hydrogen and 10 percent helium. In fact, all other elements just make up the remaining 3 percent of its composition.

"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," said Ohio State University Professor Jennifer Johnson, the science team chair of the SDSS-III APOGEE survey in a 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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