New Evidence Shows How The Solar System Was Created
A low-mass supernova triggered the creation of our solar system, a new study has found.
According to Science Daily, the research was conducted by an international team of researchers from the Monash School of Physics and Astronomy and University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy, with the help from new computer models and evidence from meteorites. According to Professor Alexander Heger from the research team, previously there was only inconclusive proof to support this theory.
A cloud of dust and gas that eventually led to the formation of the solar system was disturbed around 4.6 billion years ago, which subsequently led to a gravitational collapse resulting in the formation of a proto-Sun with a surrounding disc, where the planets were born. The disturbance of the gas cloud, which led to its collapse and the other consequent occurrences, could have been caused by a supernova, which would have ample energy to trigger such a phenomenon.
To continue with their study, which has now been published in journal Nature Communications, the research team focused on short-lived radioactive nuclei only present in the primordial solar system. According to the researchers, the nuclei could have only originated from the triggering supernova due to the formers' short lifetimes. Additionally, the abundance of the nuclei in the early solar system was understood from their decay products in meteorites.
According to the scientists, as the debris from solar system's creation, meteorites can be compared to the leftover mortar and bricks in a construction site. Furthermore, meteorites also provide answers about what the solar system is made of, and especially what short-lived nuclei were provided by the triggering supernova.
"Identifying these 'fingerprints' of the final supernova is what we needed to help us understand how the formation of the solar system was initiated," Professor Heger said. "The fingerprints uniquely point to a low-mass supernova as the trigger. [These findings] have opened up a whole new direction of research focusing on low-mass supernovae."