Why you may have all the time stated your age fallacious, in line with astrophysicists | Cosmic Void | EUROtoday

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How outdated are you? It is a straightforward query that now we have all been requested sooner or later. But the reply isn’t that easy; In reality, it’s stunning if we cease to consider the place we come from. The key’s to understand that the weather that make up our physique are older than we expect, even older than our planet.

This is the reason: it’s usually stated that we’re stardust; very good, very heard already, however it’s not so true. If we ask ourselves how outdated our our bodies are, we should analyze what a human physique really is. Well, our our bodies are composed, for probably the most half, of water (round 60% by mass). That is H₂O, two atoms of hydrogen for every one among oxygen, which signifies that a lot of the roughly 7,000 quadrillion atoms that make up us are hydrogen, about 62% by quantity. And how outdated are these hydrogen atoms? The reply isn’t easy once more. Hydrogen atoms are made up of 1 proton and one electron. Well, protons appeared within the Universe, in line with our most up-to-date calculations, rather less than 13,813 million years in the past, with an error of 38 million years up or down.

Specifically, the protons of just about all hydrogen atoms that exist right now appeared from the primary second after the Big Bang and within the first 3 minutes counted from that second 13,813 million years in the past. From the primary second of our universe, quarks, which beforehand dominated the whole cosmos, disappeared to type protons and neutrons. Also in that distant time (but it surely occurred right here subsequent door, in the identical place from the place you learn this text -and anyplace else-), electrons have been already fairly outdatedshaped between one millionth and one billionth of a second after the Big Bang.

But electrons and protons didn't come collectively to type hydrogen till about 380,000 years after the Big Bang. So 62% of the atoms in my physique and yours (which represent 8% of its mass) have a whopping greater than 3 instances the age of formation of our planet, that means the second at which created that ball the place we reside. And this leads us to say that we aren’t as stardust as is usually stated; Our atoms have been, reasonably, conceived, for probably the most half, shortly after the Big Bang.

Returning to our composition by way of molecules and their atoms, we had left oxygen hanging. Furthermore, this ingredient is essential, as a result of though hydrogen is probably the most considerable atom in our physique, if we have a look at the mass, oxygen dominates, which is about 16 instances heavier than that proton and electron that we have been speaking about. 65% of our mass is oxygen.

And how outdated is that oxygen that dominates what we see on the size? There are astrophysicists who’ve been questioning about this for many years and trying to find oxygen, which the reality is that it’s straightforward to seek out within the universe, in an increasing number of distant galaxies. Oxygen has been seen when the universe was lower than 3% of its present age. Observing distant galaxies means wanting again in time, since they’re so distant that it takes virtually an eternity for gentle to achieve us. And that delay permits us journey in space-time. Our research inform us that three quarters of the oxygen present within the universe right now was shaped within the first half of the historical past of the cosmos, and the opposite quarter later. Further in area, and earlier in time, 50% of the oxygen now we have right here right now was shaped within the first quarter of the historical past of the universe, within the first 3.5 billion years after the Big Bang, when there have been nonetheless about 5 billion years left. of years for the Sun and Earth to seem, which in flip are one other 4.5 billion years outdated. We don’t give extra information on the formation of oxygen, though there’s some, and we conclude that, on common, our oxygen could also be about 10.5 billion years outdated. We're as outdated as that.

We are oxygen, carbon and hydrogen

If we preserve asking ourselves how outdated we’re by counting when the weather that make up us have been shaped, we should go to the subsequent sort of atom in mass contribution to our scale measurement. That ingredient is carbon, which accounts for nearly 20% of our mass. Carbon, extra oxygen, extra hydrogen already add as much as 93% of our physique mass. Carbon is considerably harder to look at, however with a radio telescope we are able to go virtually as far and as early within the historical past of the universe as within the case of oxygen.

Up up to now it’s sufficient for us, roughly, to calculate the actual age of our our bodies. We go away the formation of the opposite parts (nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus are the subsequent in bascular curiosity) as a small correction that we don’t need to get into. Nor can we cease at the truth that any atom, in actuality, comes from that primordial hydrogen that appeared within the first second of our universe, combined in lunchboxes stellar, with the assistance of different very historic particles similar to photons (which weren’t all the time there).

For the planet we might make the same account taking into consideration its atoms and the place they arrive from and after they appeared. How does our age evaluate to that of our planet, by way of how outdated our atoms are? A 3rd of the Earth's mass is iron, rather less is oxygen, and one other third is dominated by silicon and magnesium, virtually 15% of the mass every, leaving solely room (or reasonably, mass) for a bit sulfur, nickel, cadmium, and many others.

When was the iron or silicon that now we have on our planet shaped? Well, it’s rather more troublesome to present a solution than within the case of oxygen. Iron could be detected in very distant objects, though this can be very troublesome. We have detected iron and silicon within the neighborhood of supermassive black holes that existed when the universe was 5% of its present age, however these parts absolutely appeared rather more slowly than oxygen: we have to proceed investigating to verify this.

We go away right here this journey via the historical past of our our bodies. We don't get into when the matter, which has been dancing via the universe for eons, got here collectively in that means and bought one thing that philosophy and faith have been attempting to clarify for a number of millennia. Bits of our our bodies already crammed a part of the cosmic void lengthy earlier than, and they’re going to return to it, though every time they fill it rather less.

Cosmic Void It is a piece through which our data concerning the universe is offered in a qualitative and quantitative means. It goals to clarify the significance of understanding the cosmos not solely from a scientific perspective but additionally from a philosophical, social and financial perspective. The identify “cosmic vacuum” refers to the truth that the universe is and is, for probably the most half, empty, with lower than one atom per cubic meter, although in the environment, paradoxically, there are quintillions of atoms per meter cubic, which invitations us to mirror on our existence and the presence of life within the universe. The part is made up Pablo G. Pérez Gonzálezresearcher on the Astrobiology Center, and Eva VillaverDirector of the Space and Society Office of the Spanish Space Agency, and Research Professor on the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands.

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