Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Melbourne, Australia (SPX) Aug 11, 2014
Researchers are a step closer to understanding the birth of the sun. Published in Science, the team led by Dr Maria Lugaro and Professor Alexander Heger, from Monash University, have investigated the solar system's prehistoric phase and the events that led to the birth of the sun.
Dr Lugaro, from the Monash Centre for Astrophysics, said the team used radioactivity to date the last time that heavy elements such as gold, silver, platinum, lead and rare-earth elements were added to the solar system matter by the stars that produced them.
"Using heavy radioactive nuclei found in meteorites to time these final additions, we have got a clearer understanding of the prehistory of the solar system," Dr Lugaro said.
"We can now tell with confidence the final one per cent of gold, silver and platinum, were added to the solar system matter roughly 100 million years before the birth of the sun.
"The final one per cent of lead and rare-earth elements, such as those that make your smart phone, was added much later - at most, 30 million years before the birth of the sun."
Dr Lugaro said the detailed timing opened up new opportunities to understand the series of events that led to the formation of the sun.
Some time after the last addition of heavy elements the solar system matter went into an 'incubation' period, during which time the stellar nursery formed - where the sun was born together with a number of other stars.
"We now know this incubation period could not have lasted more than 30 million years. This offers us the chance to determine the lifespan of the nursery where the sun was born, how massive it was and how many stars were born there together," Dr Lugaro said.
"Ultimately, we want to have a clear understanding of the circumstances of the birth of our star and the prehistory of the solar system.
"Understanding the timescales and processes leading to the formation of our solar system is key to relate its birth environment with that of other planetary systems in the galaxy."
Dr Lugaro said the research team would now be looking at other heavy radioactive nuclei to get more understanding of the prehistory of the solar system, and improve the accuracy and precision of the timing.
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|