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Where Elements Come From

I just love this.

Then again, as a chemist you would expect me to.

I got to this Periodic Table via Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) for 9/8/20. It shows the origins of the chemical elements as percentages of how the total number of each elements’ atoms were formed.

Periodic Table of Elements' Origins

Those parts in blue were formed in the Big Bang or by nuclear fusion in stars, green came from dying low mass stars, pink from cosmic ray fission, yellow from the explosions of massive stars, purple from neutron stars merging, light grey in exploding white dwarf stars.

There are areas of darker gray. The elements these refer to are mostly not found naturally – Technetium (Atomic Number 43,) Promethium (Atomic Number 61) and all the transuranics (Atomic Numbers greater than 92) can be made artificially in particle colliders or nuclear bombs and reactors, though I note that Neptunium (93) and Plutonium (94) seem to be produced by merging neutron stars. All elements with Atomic Numbers greater than 82 are radioactive and so decay away over time which is why the transuranics are not found on Earth and only some atoms of elements 82-92 are.

Quite why the version of this table that appears on APOD also has elements numbered 84-89 plus 91 in dark gray puzzles me a bit.

A Rocket Hovering

What a great photograph.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 25/7/20.

This is a Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket after taking off with its Tianwen-1 mission payload to Mars.

It looks like it’s hanging in mid-air.

Tianwen-1 in mid-air

Butterfly Nebula, NGC 6302

This beautifully detailed photo appeared on Astronomy Picture of the Day for 21/7/20.

It was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and shows the Butterfly Nebula, NGC 6302, with emissions by iron atoms in red.

Butterfly Nebula, NGC 6302

Planetary Nebula NGC 7027

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 30/6/20.

Isn’t it lovely?

Planetary Nebula NGC 7027

Cosmic Monster

Part of the Carina Nebula as seen in Astronomy Picture of the Day for 25/5/20.

It looks like something from the cover of a Fantasy novel:-

Part of Carina Nebula

A Barred Spiral Galaxy

Form Astronomy Picture of the Day for 11/6/20, barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300.

Isn’t it lovely?

NGC 1300

The View from Saturn’s Rings

This appears to be an update – or at least a re-angled view – of a picture I posted before.

Astronomy Picture of the Day for 27/5/20, does however show Earth’s Moon better than the previous one:-

Earth and Moon from Saturn

The Largest Canyon in the Solar System

… that we know of, is Valles Marineris on Mars.

It shows up stretching across the centre of Mars in this mosaic image as seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day for 24/5/20.

Valles Marineris is over 3,000 kilometres long, 600km wide and in parts 8km deep. (Compare the Grand Canyon, only 800 kilometers long, 30km across, and 1.8km deep.)

The three round features on the left are the Martian Shield Volcanoes, one of which, Olympus Mons, is the highest mountain in the Solar System.

Valles Marineris on Mars

Celestial Jewel

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 6/4/20.

Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672.

NGC 1672

Has Something Happened to Saturn’s Rings?

Glancing at the image on Astronomy Picture of the Day for 16/3/20 you’d be forgiven for thinking so.

But it’s not Saturn.

It’s the Moon with a cloud partially obscuring it.

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