Imagine the Universe!
Preface to 2nd Edition

This revision to "What is Your Cosmic Connection to the Elements?" reflects additions to the story of the origins of the elements which we became aware of after the initial publication of the poster and booklet. In particular, we learned that small stars have a greater role than we initially knew in the production of elements heavier than iron. We also learned the complete story of the production of lithium.

We thank Dr. Stan Woosley (Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) and Dr. Rob Hoffman (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) for their assistance in this revision.

Preface to 1st Edition

Welcome to the fifth in a series of posters and information/activity booklets produced in conjunction with the Imagine The Universe! Web site. The poster and booklet are intended to provide additional curriculum support materials for some of the subjects presented on the site.

This booklet provides information and classroom activities covering topics in astronomy, physics, and chemistry. Chemistry teachers will find information about the cosmic origin of the chemical elements. The astronomy topics include the big bang, life cycles of small and large stars, supernovae, and cosmic rays. Physics teachers will find information on fusion processes, and physical principles important in stellar evolution. While not meant to replace a textbook, the information provided here is meant to give the necessary background for the theme of "our cosmic connection to the elements." The activities can be used to re-enforce the material across a number of disciplines, using a variety of techniques, and to engage and excite students about the topic. Additional activities, and online versions of the activities published here, are available at

Words in boldface are found in the glossary near the end of this booklet.

This booklet is intended to be used with the poster, "What is Your Cosmic Connection to the Elements?" (NASA # EW-2003-1-016-GSFC).

For additional materials and information about the highly energetic objects and events in our universe, visit the Imagine The Universe! web site at

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Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

DVD Table of Contents
Educator's Index