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We have seen that nova and supernova are major ways in which the new, heavy nuclei made in red giant stars are sent out into the galaxy, ready to be incorporated into new stars and planets. If this re-cycling did not happen, planets and life could never have begun.

As they are shot out of the star some atoms gain too many electrons (giving them a negative electric charge) while others have too few (giving them a positive charge). This type of atom is called an ion. These opposite charges attract strongly and glue the atoms together. This type of gluing is called an ionic bond.

The atoms pack in close together to form tiny crystals we call grains of cosmic dust. Some of them will eventually form the rocks of the Earth.
These dust grains are blown out of dying stars and mix with the original gas of the Galaxy to form dust clouds. The disc of the galaxy became thick with dust.

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