Astronomers from the United States and Germany have suggested that variable stars emit huge amounts of carbon during their evolution. If their guess is confirmed, then the researchers will establish the origin of this element in the universe.
Astronomers have been able to figure out that variable stars are one of the main suppliers of carbon. It is these heavenly bodies that support the level of the fourth most common element in the Universe, the compounds of which form the basis of earthly life.
They found that stars burn hydrogen, converting it into helium and releasing energy. By repeating this process, the released energy is sufficient so that the celestial body does not collapse under its own weight. After the hydrogen runs out, the star turns into an alloy of helium. During this process, the rest of the star swells and turns into a red giant. At the core of this red giant, helium contracts to form carbon and oxygen.
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has observed what happens after a star turns into a red giant. They decided to investigate a special type of celestial body called CW Leonis.
So they were able to see that a celestial body is ejecting a large amount of material from its shell into the surrounding system, before turning into a planetary nebula. Scientists have found that these materials contain large amounts of carbon.
Astronomers still need to confirm their theory with further observations. If they are right, astronomers will be able to understand where the massive amounts of carbon compounds are coming from in the galaxy. Previous speculations suggest that carbon is formed in the stellar winds of large bodies that end in supernova explosions, while other observations indicate that small carbon stars may be the source of carbon.