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1969: The Precious Year for Humanity, Revealing Many Secrets of Solar System



grains of stardust

Nature astronomy breaks the news that in 1969 in Chihuahua, Mexico grains of stardust fell, which is older than the sun inside the gigantic meteorite. Scientists have detected these grains, seven billion years old, older than the sun as the sun is of 4.5 billion years.

After a week, another study revealed that in 1969 again, a meteorite landed on Earth, but that time in Australia. 1969 is the year when human beings stepped on the moon. The precious year for humanity regarding its development as he stepped on the moon and also the universe become so generous as it is sending space rocks. But it is surprising that man has made such progress as he is rapidly finding and identifying these pre-solar grains, and makes it worth studying.

The pre-solar grains are before the sun began to shine, so it is providing some rare links to the interstellar system from which our solar system got existence.

Curious Marie:

Nature astronomy team focused on the inclusion of a material trapped in a mineral. The inclusion is of Allende meteorite, which is known as Curious Marie, for the honor of famous scientist Curious Marie. Calcium Aluminum rich Inclusion (CAI) called Curious Marie is the portion of rock that is formed differently from the rest of meteorites that predate then the sun.

As we all know that gas clouds condensed, causing the formation of the sun. Than the protoplanetary disc surrounds it, eventually giving rise to planets. During all the processes of the creation of the solar system, the temperature remains above 1000 degrees centigrade. Predictions have made that at that temperature, most of the inclusions can’t survive, and even the most robust pre-solar grain made of Silicon carbide crystals wouldn’t survive also. But detection of an old chunk of meteorite within Curious Marie surprised the scientist led by Olga Pravdivtseva, a Physicist at Washington University in St. Louis.

Detection of grains of stardust:

The team detects the pre-solar grains of stardust by gradually heating 20 micrograms of Curios Marie, resulting in the release of some noble gases. For the analysis of emerging noble gases pair of Mass Spectrometers (MS) was used. All the elements of the periodic table have isotopes- different masses of same features- so MS is analyzing the isotopes of gases giving information about CAI and also providing information to clarify this point, whether it contains pre-solar SiC or not. The main element on which the Pravdivtseva team focused is Xenon. Xenon also has three isotopes as neon has, giving scientists a chance to reconstruct and specify the meteorite’s interior composition. This unique approach led to the discovery of SiC in Curious Marie.

Pravdivtseva said in an email, “Xenon is the most diagnostic in the case of pre-solar SiC, but it is much more difficult to measure simply Xenon because it is less abundant. Nobody ever even attempted to look for SiC in CAIs using [Xenon] isotopic signatures.” All the experiments and working were happening in Laboratory for Space Sciences at Washington University, So about the place, she said, “We have high-sensitivity mass-spectrometers fine-tuned for [xenon] to deal with it.” She said, “The isotopic signatures of the noble gases krypton, argon, and neon supported the xenon observations.” In their study, she said that she and her team are studying other inclusions too in Allende Meteorite to find what happened when the first solid condensed in the solar system.

We can say that scientists have predicted that there are pre-solar meteorites, but after this study, due to development in scientific techniques, humans can get the precise age of those grains too. More than 50 years have been passed after all happening, more secrets about the birth of the solar system revealed. All these secrets prove some of the man’s predictions to be accurate, and some are false.

“There is so much about conditions in the early solar system we can learn by studying these objects in detail,” Pravdivtseva said, “Whatever we learn adds more dimensions and details to the whole picture.”


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