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New Evidence! Low-Mass Supernova Triggered Birth of Solar System

Nov 30, 2016 04:51 AM EST
Fragments Of An Exploded Star
A new study suggests a low-mass supernova triggered the formation of our solar system.
(Photo : NASA/Getty Images)

A new study suggests a low-mass supernova triggered the formation of our solar system.

According to the study, which based their findings on new models, the supernova has left forensic evidence in meteorites that appeared at the birth of our solar system.

NASA defines supernova as the explosion of a star and the largest explosion that takes place in space. It adds that there are two types of supernova: one that occurs in binary star systems and the other happens at the end of a single star's lifetime.

It was previously suspected that supernova had been the reason that the solar system was, noting that the supernova would have enough energy to disturb the gas clouds about 4.6 billion years ago. But until now, there was no concrete evidence to prove it.

The research team, led by University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy Professor, Yong-Zhong Qian, focused their study on short-lived nuclei present in the meteorites, the debris from the formation of the solar system.

TechTimes explained that previous researchers looked for evidence of the formation of solar system by a high-mass supernova. However, a high-mass supernova trigger didn't leave evidence on meteorites the same way that low-mass supernova did.

"This is the forensic evidence we need to help us explain how the solar system was formed," Qian said in a press release. "It points to a low-mass supernova as the trigger."

They examined Beryllium-10, a short-lived nucleus that is widely distributed in meteorites. Results showed that although Beryllium-10 can be formed either by high-mass or low-mass supernova, the trigger was a definitely from by low-mass supernova.

"The findings in this paper have opened up a whole new direction in our research," Qian said. "In addition to explaining the abundance of Beryllium-10, this low-mass supernova model would also explain the short-lived nuclei Calcium-41, Palladium-107, and a few others found in meteorites. What it cannot explain must then be attributed to other sources that require detailed study."

The findings were published in Nature Communications.

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