New research has confirmed the long-held belief by scientists that humans are undeniably made of stardust.
A team of astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in New Mexico enlisted the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) which uses infrared wavelengths to see through the galaxy’s dust and analyse the composition of 150,000 stars across our galaxy.
Cataloging the abundance of ‘CHNOPS’ (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous and sulfur) elements in each of the stars, which are the “building blocks” of the world around us, the resulting data found that humans and their galaxy have about 97 per cent of the same kind of atoms.
Using a spectroscopy method to evaluate each element and determine what it was made of, the team discovered a distinct wavelength of light from within each star. “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,” a Sloan spokesperson said in a statement.
It was also found that the elements are more concentrated in the Milky Way’s center. “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 Jennifer Johnson, the science team chair of the SDSS-III APOGEE survey and a professor at The Ohio State University.
“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,” she added.
But researchers also noted that although we share most elements with stars, humans’ mass is 65 per cent oxygen, in contrast to the less than one per cent measured in space.
This article originally appeared on RT.