The origin of our solar system and its workings can now be evidenced, according to a new study that confirms the long-standing theory that our solar system was formed by a triggering of a shockwave, which emerged from an exploding supernova, which in turn resulted in a large amount of dust and gas absorbing the exploded material. This formation of gases and dust collapsed into itself to eventually become the Sun and the planets we know of today.
According to Phys.org, this particular theory can now be proven, thanks to the science behind understanding meteorites. In a new published work by Carnegie Institution of Science’s Alan Boss, it has been explained that meteorites can retain and record the elements, isotopes as well as the compounds that existed during the solar system’s nascent stages of life. The carbonaceous chondrites include some of the oldest samples documented in its meteorite.
During the beginning of the formation of the solar system, certain isotopes were also expelled during the discharge from the supernova, which were absorbed by the chondrites, which took millions of years to deteriorate. Over time, as the isotopes dispel energetic particles and neutrons to remain stable, their now decayed composition – known as daughter isotopes – can be found in these chondrites as well. By examining these daughter isotopes, scientists will be able to measure when the chondrites were actually formed.
Carnegie’s official report adds that some isotopes decay into different decayed products. The isotopes released from supernova explosion events such as the one which formed our solar system, consist of iron-60, which decays into nickel-60. This daughter isotope, when examined, can show exactly how iron-60 was present in the parent body from which the meteorite broke off. Because of this discovery of Iron-60 isotopes being present during a supernova, the only explanation that could result in the discharge of the isotopes through the supernova is that a shock wave had hit the isotopes which resulted in Iron-60 isotopes being released and clinging onto the meteorite.
Boss believes that the evidence justifies that the supernova explosion was caused by a shockwave that laid out the radioactive isotopes in the solar system. Thus, the theory of the formation of the solar system now has proof and circumstantial evidence.
The study, while not only being a big step towards uncovering the origins of the solar system, was also made in tribute to Boss’s long-term collaborator, Sandra Keiser who provided support for computation and programming at the Carnegie Institute for more than two decades. She passed away in the month of March.