A team of astrophysicists has developed a new explanation for the early composition of our solar system - radioactive nuclei found in the earliest meteorites, dating back billions of years, could have been delivered by a nearby dying giant star of six times the mass of the sun.
If their hypothesis holds water, it could change our current ideas on the origin of the solar system.
"We have known about the early presence of these radioactive nuclei in meteorites since the 1960s, but we do not know where they originated from. The presence of the radioactive nuclei has been previously linked to a nearby supernova explosion, but we are showing now that these nuclei are more compatible with an origin from the winds coming from a large dying star," said Dr. Maria Lugaro from Monash University.
Their conclusion was reached by combining stellar observations from telescopes with recently developed theoretical models reproduced on powerful computers of how stars evolve and which nuclear reaction occurs within their interiors.
"We need to know if the presence of radioactive nuclei in young planetary systems is a common or a special event in our galaxy because their presence affected the evolution of the first large rocks (the parent bodies of asteroids and meteorites) in the solar system. These are believed to be the source of much of earth's water, which is essential for life," Lugaro said. "Within one million years of the formation of the solar system the radioactive nuclei decayed inside the rocks where they were trapped, releasing high-energy photons, which caused the rocks to heat. Since much of earth's water is believed to have originated from these first rocks, the possibility of life on earth depends on their heating history and, in turn, on the presence of radioactive nuclei.
"What we need to do now is investigate the probability that a dying giant star could have actually been nearby our then young solar system and polluted it with radioactive nuclei. This will inform us on the place where the solar system was born, on the probability that other young planetary system also are polluted with radioactive nuclei, and, eventually, on the probability of having water on terrestrial planets in other planetary systems."
Lugaro pursued this research in collaboration with Amanda Karakas (Mount Stromlo Observatory), Mark van Raai (Utrecht University), and Spanish researchers Josep Maria Trigo-Rodriguez (CSIC and Instituto de Estudios Espaciales de Cataluña), Aníbal García-Hernández and Arturo Manchado, (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias), and Pedro García Lario (European Space Astronomy Center in Madrid).
The findings have been published in the journal Meteoritic&Planetary Science.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Moderate Pot Use By Adolescents Doesn't Hurt IQ
- Finding Fracking Fluids In The Environment
- Dopamine Receptor Agonist Drugs Linked To Gambling And Hypersexuality
- What's Hiding Under The Clouds Of Venus - Heavy Metal Frost?
- Ashes And Vegetables: The Diet Of Roman Gladiators Was Rather Poor
- Manly Men And Feminine Women Are Not Evolutionary Mandates - They Are Urban Ones
- Government Math: More Will Lose Health Insurance Than Gained It If ACA Subsidies Are Eliminated
- "Hey maybe it's not showing correctly on my iPad, but the link you included doesn't go directly..."
- "Our daughter had a serious adverse reaction to the MMR. When the HPV vaccine was offered we opted..."
- "Just like how the ability to learn language is ingrained, not any specific language, so certain..."
- "Since there's no actual link between vaccines and autism, I think the phrase Vaccines have been..."
- "I'll not argue that humanity made God in their image, because we sought to explain something we..."
- Despite resistance, China will dominate future of GMOs
- Should Science and Nature run advertorial by wacky Dr. Bronner’s that misleads on GMOs?
- Jack the Ripper’s identity remains a mystery after error in DNA analysis revealed
- Seed patent primer: Is the use of GMOs preventing farmers from reusing their seeds?
- History of penetrative sex reveals unexpected reversal in evolution
- Bleeding of Aloha: Ugliness of the anti-GMO movement in Hawaii
- UCSF researchers identify key factor in transition from moderate to problem drinking
- Expert highlights research innovation and is optimistic about the future of IBS treatment
- Alternate approach to traditional CPR saves lives
- Once CD8 T cells take on one virus, they'll fight others too
- 11 million will lose health insurance if ACA subsidies are eliminated, study finds
Books By Writers Here