Scientists have found on Earth the star dust of ancient Suns

Katie Ramirez
January 14, 2020

A meteorite that crashed in a fireball in rural Southeast Australia in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on Earth, stardust that was billions of years before our solar system was formed.

Philipp Heck, a curator at the Field Museum, associate professor at the University of Chicago, said, "They're solid samples of stars, real stardust". "They also determined that the presolars are used to clumping together in granola-like clusters, which they didn't think was possible", said Heck. that the grains illuminated not only the stars and the duration of their star dust, but also more the galaxies and their chronology.

When stars die after millions or billions of years, their particles end up in outer space - eventually forming new stars as well as moons or meteorites. Only a few grains, about 8 percent, were found to be more than a billion years older than the solar system, making them the oldest material ever dated.

However, the presolars are tiny and rare, found in only about 5% of meteorites that fall on Earth.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, now took a closer look at them.

This "rotten-peanut-butter-meteorite paste" was then dissolved with acid, until only the presolar grains remained.

There are lifetimes' worth of questions left to answer about presolar grains and the early Solar System, and researchers can't resolve them all.

The researchers worked to determine the age of the grains by measuring how long they had been exposed to cosmic rays in space.

The researchers were able to measure the exposure of the grains to cosmic rays, highly energized particles zipping through our galaxy. Those cosmic rays react with rock to form new elements that accumulate over time. The longer they are exposed, the more of these elements form. "We have more young grains than expected", said Heck.

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Scientists, while analysing a meteorite, have discovered the oldest solid material known to exist on Earth.

As for the oldest grain, Haenecour says, "I think it is hard to really actually know that this grain is 7 billion years old", but adds that it does appear to be much older than the other grains in the study.

Presolar grains are usually hard to find as they are only found in about 5% of the meteorites that have fallen to Earth.

The presolar grains Dr.

This discovery supports findings by other astronomers that indicate a dramatic spike in star formation around 7 billion years ago, the researchers reported. "This is one of the key findings of our study".

"We came to the conclusion that about 7 billion years ago there must have been an episode of enhanced star formation, probably about 50 per cent more stars formed than normal".

It's essentially a sedimentary rock from the gas cloud from which the solar system formed, said Dr Heck. He explained there were problems when researchers had initially tried to age the dust and that his team has been working on the samples for over 10 years.

However, the oldest yielded a date of around 7.5 billion years old. Rocha-Pinto previously found evidence for a boom in star formation around the same time period, based on astronomical survey data. Dust grains floating through space get bombarded by high-energy particles called cosmic rays. "We hope this will be picked up and studied so that people can use this as input for models of the whole galactic life cycle". "With stardust, we can trace that material back to the time before the Sun". "The unbelievable thing is we have a rock in our collection that we just take out of the cabinet and learn something about the history of our galaxy".

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