Based on supercomputer simulations by astrophysicists at Northwestern University, which took the equivalent of “several million hours of continuous computing,” scientists say our original matter came from exploding supernovas that sailed to our solar system on “powerful galactic winds.”

The leader of the study, Daniel Angles-Alcazar, said “We ran highly sophisticated simulations, looking at the formation of galaxies from shortly after the Big Bang and traced their development to today. We found that when we completed these simulations that we could say … that the atoms which formed the solar system and so which form us, may have existed in other galaxies.”

This diagram shows the large-scale flows of gas in the Milky Way halo of faint stars and hot gas. Using the Hubble Space Telescope’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, Nicolas Lehner and Chris Howk at the University of Notre Dame were able to directly constrain the distance of the fast-moving ionized clouds responsible for flows of gas in the Milky Way halo. The invisible clouds were detected by finding their absorption signature in the ultraviolet spectra of distant background halo stars. The researchers found that the clouds are reservoirs of gas that enable stars to continue to form in the Milky Way. Without the replenishment from recycled gas and infalling extragalactic material, stars would have stopped forming in the Milky Way a long time ago. This study also suggests the clouds slow down as they approach the Milky Way.

They found a new phenomenon of “intergalactic transfer” due to fast-moving gases flying to separate neighboring galaxies. Before such simulations, scientists thought galaxies formed by absorbing remaining substances from the big bang.

“We knew about galactic winds from previous models but this transfer of mass that we’ve identified is a fresh result for us,” Angles-Alcazar said.

Another astronomer on this team, Claude Faucher-Giguere, said the simulation implies “up to one-half of the atoms around us” came from galaxies “up to one million light years away.”

So it seems we all fundamentally came from stars of the universe and it is a miracle that we manifest in this super sophisticated human form.


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