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University doctoral students used two radio telescopes, including the Arizona Radio Observatory 12-meter radio telescope on Kitt Peak, to make the discovery.

The case of the missing phosphorus: Astronomers find life ingredient at galaxy's edges

The discovery of phosphorus in a molecular cloud at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy challenges current views of how the element originates and extends the galactic habitable zone.

"But to make phosphorus, you need some kind of violent event," explained Lucy Ziurys, Regents Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Astronomy and astronomer at Steward Observatory. "It is thought that phosphorus is created in supernova explosions, and for that, you need a star that has at least 20 times the mass of the sun." Learn more

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