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Name: Richard
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: NV
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
As I understand it, all elements heavier than He were formed in various supernova and other explosions of dying stars. If our solar system is about 4.6 billion years old, and the universe is about 15 billion years old, then that would mean that other stars would have lived and died within a distance that would allow their heavier elements to travel to our area of the universe, and thus be incorporated into our solar system. But it hardly seems like a long enough time, as at best only two generations of stars could roughly, have lived and died and spewed their elements to be incorporated when our sun and planets formed. It seems that even travelling at relativistic velocities, matter from other dying stars would only have a few billion years to travel, and thus must have been close to our location. I am not wording this well, but it just seems like there was not enough time for numerous stars to have lived and died to give us enough heavier elements to form the planets.


Replies:
Thank you for your comment. I disagree; I think there was plenty of time.

Sincerely
David H. Levy


It always amazes me that people think that they understand and visualize great spans of time when there is probably no one who can conceptualize a million years, let alone a billion years. Ten billion years is a huge amount of time and obviously plenty for gravity to act on the heavy elements in developing solar systems. Here we are!

Steve Sample



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