It appears that when a star dies, it ends up spreading chemical elements such as carbon across other celestial bodies, phys.org reports citing a new study that was recently published in Nature Astronomy.
As the media outlet explains, the new research suggests that during the last stages of their lives, stars twice as big as the Sun produce carbon atoms that then get expelled to the surface and carried into the surrounding environment via stellar winds.
"The findings pose new, stringent constraints on how and when carbon was produced by stars of our galaxy, ending up within the raw material from which the Sun and its planetary system were formed 4.6 billion years ago," said Jeffrey Cummings, Associate Research Scientist in the Johns Hopkins University's Department of Physics & Astronomy and one of the authors of the study.
The research team calculations suggest that a star has to be at least 1.5 solar masses to "spread its carbon-rich ashes".
As Paola Marigo, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Padova and first author of the study, remarked, the team's findings help scientists “understand the properties of galaxies in the universe”, as the media outlet puts it.