Children of Stardust

Right now, anything and everything that is within your field of view -- and indeed all solid matter in the universe -- is the product of the violent and explosive death of a star.

The Birth of Stars ...
In the cosmic beginning, there was only hydrogen gas. Tremendous forces of gravity compacted that gas into isolated pockets that reached levels of density so intense and mass so great that a star was born.

Each star is a nuclear fusion furnace, collapsing at precisely the same rate that it is exploding, converting that which is simple -- like hydrogen -- into that which is more complex and heavier -- like carbon, oxygen and iron.

... the Death of Stars
For each star, the delicate balance is eventually disrupted as the outgoing force of the nuclear fusion explosion overtakes that crushing gravity that holds the star together.

The star explodes into a supernova, and the heavy elements forged in its core are ejected into the cosmos.

All that you can see, touch and taste is composed of the ancient remnants of dying suns.


We the Children
That goes for you and me, as well. Skin, blood and bone all constructed of elements and compounds manufactured in the fiery center of stars. We are all indeed, the children of stardust.

And when we look out into the night sky what we see millions of light years beyond is no more a part of the universe than we are. Every star, planet and moon is a cosmic cousin.

Purpose and Meaning
Eric Carlson, twenty-eight years the senior astronomer at Chicago's historic Adler Planetarium and now an astro-theologian believes that when we look up into the vastness of the cosmos and wonder about its origins, it is indeed, the universe contemplating itself and meditating on its purpose and meaning.

The cosmos depends on we the children -- the essence of its mind and evidence of its soul -- to unravel its own riddle and master its own mystery.

Poem by J. Sig Paulson
I tried to conquer the Universe, but it defeated me
I tried to capture the Universe, but it eluded me
I tried to understand the Universe, but it outwitted me
So, clumsily, hesitantly, I tried to love the Universe
And it embraced me