table of astronomy


What Is The Universe’s Third Most Common Element?

“But there’s one killer move that stars have that makes carbon a loser in the cosmic equation: when a star is massive enough to initiate carbon fusion – a requirement for generating a type II supernova – the process that turns carbon into oxygen goes almost to full completion, creating significantly more oxygen than carbon by time the star is ready to explode.”

When the Universe was first born, all we had was hydrogen and helium, with a trace amount of lithium and absolutely nothing else. 13.8 billion years later, hydrogen is still #1 in the Universe and helium is still #2, but lithium isn’t close to #3 anymore: more than two dozen elements have passed it. The key? Stars! Over billions of years, nuclear fusion in the cores of stars have built up all the naturally occurring elements we know of in the periodic table. You might think that since three heliums can fuse together to make carbon, that would be the third most common element in the Universe. And it’s close: carbon comes in at #4. But another element has it beat.

So who’s number 3, and how did it get to be that way? It’s oxygen! Find out why today.


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The Scientific Story Of How Each Element Was Made

“Neutron star mergers create the greatest heavy element abundances of all, including gold, mercury, and platinum. Meanwhile, cosmic rays blast nuclei apart, creating the Universe’s lithium, beryllium, and boron. Finally, the heaviest, unstable elements are made in terrestrial laboratories. The result is the rich, diverse Universe we inhabit today.”

When the Big Bang first occurred, the Universe was filled with all the various particles and antiparticles making up the Standard Model, and perhaps still others yet to be discovered. But missing from the list were protons, neutrons, or any of the atomic nuclei key to the life-giving elements in our Universe today. Yet the Universe expanded, cooled, antimatter annihilated away, and the first elements began to take shape. After billions of years of cosmic evolution, we arrived at a Universe recognizable today: full of stars, planets, and the full complement of elements populating the periodic table. More than 100 elements are known today, 91 of which are found to occur naturally on Earth. Some were formed in the Big Bang, others were formed in stars, still others were formed in violent cosmic cataclysms or collisions. Yet every one has an origin whose story is now known, giving rise to all we interact with today.

Come get the full story behind how all the elements were made in some fantastic pictures, visuals, and no more than 200 words on this edition of Mostly Mute Monday!

Dear Journal,

Be ready, today’s page will be emotional. The full moon is tommorow. My head already hurts. This morning, everything was normal (except form my stress and headache from the full moon coming up). We went to class and everything was great. During lunch, i sat next to Lily’s cousin, Sophie. We were chatting about the next book that our favorite author would publish soon and I could feel Sirius’ eyes on us. I looked at him and his jaw was clenched and he tried to look away. He was jealous poor thing! I thought it was cute. We then went to Potions and Sirius barely talked to me.

“Pads are you alright?” I asked him.

“I’m fine okay?!” He said, starting to scare me.

“Pads if you want to say something… just say it..”

“I said i’m fine!” He responded, getting mad.

I stopped talking, not wanting to get him even more mad. Maybe it was because he stopped smoking. Maybe he just needed some time alone. After class he went for a walk outside and i headed to the library with James. He needed help with his astronomy and I was more than happy to help him. I love astronomy. The stars have this special thing that make them all different and special. James and I sat on a table and i gathered some astronomy books.

“James? Do you know what’s wrong with Sirius? He looked mad today..” i asked him.

“I don’t know.. I mean he quit smoking yesterday.. maybe it’s hard for him..”

“Yeah.. you’re right.. Maybe i’m just imagining things..” i said, looking down at my hands full of scars.

“What’s that star? I don’t remember it’s name?” He asked.

“Come on Prongs! It’s the easiest one to remember! It’s the Sirius star!” I laughed.

“Ohhh! That’s the one our dearest friend was nammed after!” He laughed with me.

“How are things with Lily?” I asked him.

“Things are going in a good way! Since that time we kissed at the ball, she’s been so nice to me… i really hope she has feelings for me because i really care for her..” he said blushing.

“She’ll come around.. She just needs time. Lily is like that. But you’re the one for her mate.. Just take your time..” i told him. He responded with a big smile. I feel like James looks strong on the outside, but he has feelings too and the fact that he shares them with me warms my heart.

We worked for about an hour and James had to meet up with Lily. I stood up to place back the astronomy books on the right shelf and got suprised by a voice behind me.

“Remus?” It was Sophie. She wanted to talk to me about tommorow night. I could see that she was also nervous about the full moon. Her eyes were getting full of tears.

“Remus.. I’m scared for tommorow… it will be the first time i turn into a werewolf in a place i don’t know..” she said starting to quietly sob.

I hugged her close to me. I could feel what she was going through. All that stress that was living inside me from the last week wanted to get out. I wanted to cry. But i didn’t. I couldn’t show her that I was scared too. After a few minutes she pulled away and thanked me.

“Thank you Remus…”

“It’s nothing Sophie.. how about you get a book and go relax okay?”

“Yes.. i will.. thanks again..” she said, walking away with her books in her hands.

I was so tired, so stressed, i wanted to cry but things wouldn’t get better if i did…

I walked out of the library, wanting to go to sleep early but Sirius was waiting by the door. He looked mad. Mad at me.

“How dare you?! I loved you and that’s how you treat me?” He said with his voice really loud.

I wasn’t in the mood for a fight. I was already so stressed and exhausted.

“What are you talking about pads?” I asked, keeping my voice calm.

“Don’t act like you don’t know! Don’t you dare!” He said, his voice getting louder.

“Sirius calm down..” i tried to take his hand. But he pushed it away.


“Sirius i don’t..”


“What.. Sirius i wasn’t.. she was crying.. i hugged her.. she was nervous about the full moon.. i would never cheat on you! I love you!”

I didn’t understand.. my head was pounding.. i felt like throwing up.. i was so stressed..


I started to cry.. i felt the tears coming in my eyes and i felt like blowing up..

“I thought you were different than that..” he said, disgusted.

“Sirius i didn’t cheat on you!” I screamed.

I fell to the floor. My vision was blurry. Tears were running on my cheeks. I put my palms on the cold floor and tried to breathe. My throat was thight. Air wasn’t coming in. I was sobbing and hyperventilating. I was shaking. All the stress, the pain and all the emotions i’ve been holding up were bursting out. I felt Sirius’ hand on my back.

“Remus?! Remus what’s wrong?!” He nervously said.

“I-I ca..can’t bre-breathe..” i said between sobs.

“Okay sit down… It’s okay Remus.. breathe with me okay? Just like me… You need the relax baby..” he said rubbing my back.

“P-Pads I.. I d-didn’t do.. it..”

I was sobbing. I couldn’t loose him. He was all I needed, all I wanted.

“It’s okay Remus.. i’m sorry.. i shouldn’t have accused you like that… Breathe baby.. I believe you.. i’m so sorry moons i thought i saw… Nevermind.. Breathe okay baby? It’s alright i’m here.. i’m not leaving you..” he said with tears in his eyes.

When my breathing was regular, he hugged me. So thight. He was sorry. Still both quietly crying, we never left eachothers arms.

“I’m so sorry baby.. I accused you of s-something you didn’t d-do and look what i did…” he said, tears on his red cheeks. I wipped them off and kissed his forehead.

“It’s okay Sirius… i forgive you..” i whispered.

He helped me get up, making sure i was okay. We slowly walked to the common room and went straight to the dorm. He helped me lay on my bed and pushed the covers up to my shoulders.

“I can understand if you’re mad at me… I’m really truly sorry Remus.. i can sleep in my bed tonight if you want..” he whispered.

“No.. I want you close to me.. I don’t want to be alone…”


He slid under the warm sheets and I layed my hed on his chest.

“I love you so much Remus..”

“I love you even more Sirius.”

January 24th 1976

Around the World in 80 Minutes: A Librarians Fanfiction

Oops, I wrote another one :-) Find the full story here, or just keep reading!

Ezekiel Jones was bored, and nothing good ever really happened when Ezekiel Jones was soul-crushingly bored, especially not when there’s a teleporting door at his disposal and no one but Cassandra to keep him in line.


Ezekiel Jones was bored, and nothing good ever really happened when Ezekiel Jones experienced the soul-crushing boredom that he was experiencing at that current moment in time. The Annex of the Library was almost dead silent, a rarity for the normally bustling location. His sole companion, Cassandra Cillian, sat across from him at the center table, happily reading about astronomy and charting constellations. The tranquility was only broken by the occasional mutterings from Cassandra’s lips as she worked imaginary equations in front her big blue eyes, but unless she suddenly hit the floor, watching Cassandra hallucinate was only mildly entertaining, and watching her chart stars was about as exciting as he imagined watching paint dry would be.

Stone, after a little too close of a near-miss with death on their last big case, had finally decided to go home for a weekend and check in with his family. Jenkins was surprisingly nowhere to be found; Ezekiel thought he was off in the main library somewhere. Baird and Flynn had left on a case that morning, and, despite the younger Librarians’ protests, they had refused to let Ezekiel and Cassandra join them. That made Ezekiel think they weren’t really away on a case at all, but he hadn’t shared his growing suspicions with anyone yet. These circumstances had left him with nothing to do but idly spin Cassandra’s constellation globe around, which was, again, about as exciting as he imagined watching paint dry would be.

Keep reading


The above images are spectacular representations of what Chandra X-Ray Telescope has brought to the astronomy table. The earth’s atmosphere filters out a great majority of x-rays, therefore, by having a telescope in orbit outside of the atmosphere, it gives astronomers a new perspective on the makeup of various celestial bodies. As seen in these images, high energy particles often emit high levels of x-rays which are typically invisible to us if we simply take a picture in the visible spectrum. Having an x-ray observatory like Chandra opens a brand new (beautiful) window to the universe.

In his favourite arm chair, Drake had all his astronomy charts spread out on the table in front of him.  Astronomy was a fascinating subject and the fifth year enjoyed it, however, it was extremely challenging to analyze something he and his people had always taken for granted.  

Turning to his friend, he sighed, slumping back in the chair.  “It’s useless.  Dragons are meant to fly through the stars, not analyze them.”