Millions of years of fusing hydrogen atoms to fuel myself are taking their toll. One amongst billions, I have nothing unique about myself, except I am running out of hydrogen, the very element crucial to my survival.
Turning 3 million years this year, my birth is very much similar to the thousands around me. I have evolved from a tightly wrapped dust and gas that spirals around a giant black hole. The enormous pressure and temperature eventually gave way to the fusion of hydrogen atoms, through which I make my living. The galaxy’s arms where I live in are sprinkled with tiny young stars, each one several light years wide. From far off, I am seen as a tiny dot of blue outshining the dust around me. Everywhere around my home, hundreds of thousands of galaxies are scattered, their intensity illuminated by the black holes at their centers.
Gendler, Robert. Andromeda Island Universe. 2005. nasa.gov. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
Destroying tons of hydrogen atoms is a necessity. You see, my life is balanced between gravitational collapse and fusion reactions. If it were not for the enormous energy released by fusions, I would have collapsed into myself thousands of years ago. And the only proof that I was ever alive would have been the ever expanding cloud habiting the neutron star. Fortunately, I am mostly made up of hydrogen which I fuse into helium, nitrogen and other heavier elements. The happy go lucky phase of my life came to an abrupt halt when a similar fusion reaction gave birth to iron. Normally the extreme pressure that I put myself into fuses even the heaviest of elements that I have come across. But the iron is something I cannot join forces with, no matter how much I try. Instead of giving me the strength to counter my gravity, it seems to suck the energy out of me every time I try to fuse it. I look around. Spiraled by the hungry monster at the center, my family of stars is focusing on fusing its hydrogen atoms. Will they meet the same fate as me? I try to warn them, but they are too focused to spare any attention. Far off into the distance, hundreds of galaxies are visible to me as tiny specks of red and blue glowing in the dark. Little did these galaxies know their fate being planned for them by the iron atoms. I am only too aware of the consequences if I collapse. After all, I was born because of a star explosion that occurred far, far way. I have heard stories over and over again about the older stars in other galaxies sacrificing themselves so that new ones can emerge. Is this the pain and agony they went through while sacrificing themselves? Will my death help in the birth of young stars? Ever since we were young, we were taught to give back to the universe as much as we could. Fortunately, I am massive enough to trigger an explosion that will send shock waves throughout the universe. The thought inspired me enough to let go. The density of iron atoms is increasing in leaps and bounds, consuming all of my energy. And then, it begins. I tumble upon myself, pushing the protons and electrons to form neutrinos. These start exerting powerful shock wave. As I start collapsing into myself, the pressure becomes way too high for my tightly packed form and releases itself through my core and into space.
Levay, Zolt. SN 1006 Supernova Remnant. 2014. nasa.gov. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
After a few hours, the shock waves nears the surface. The moment it breaks through, I explode. Watching my remains expand everywhere, I stagger towards the edge of oblivion.
- Spiral Galaxies- http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/
- Black Holes – www.nasa.gov
- Supernova Remnant – www.nasa.gov
- Star Life – www.nasa.gov
- Supernova Explosion – www.youtube.com