Science Current Events | Science News |

New findings on the birth of the solar system

July 20, 2009
A team of international astrophysicists, including Dr Maria Lugaro from Monash University, has discovered a new explanation for the early composition of our solar system.

The team has found that radioactive nuclei found in the earliest meteorites, dating back billions of years, could have been delivered by a nearby dying giant star of six times the mass of the sun.

Dr Lugaro said the findings could change our current ideas on the origin of the solar system.

"We have known about the early presence of these radioactive nuclei in meteorites since the 1960s, but we do not know where they originated from. The presence of the radioactive nuclei has been previously linked to a nearby supernova explosion, but we are showing now that these nuclei are more compatible with an origin from the winds coming from a large dying star," Dr Lugaro said.

The conclusion was reached by combining stellar observations from telescopes with recently developed theoretical models reproduced on powerful computers of how stars evolve and which nuclear reaction occurs within their interiors.

"We need to know if the presence of radioactive nuclei in young planetary systems is a common or a special event in our galaxy because their presence affected the evolution of the first large rocks (the parent bodies of asteroids and meteorites) in the solar system. These are believed to be the source of much of earth's water, which is essential for life," Dr Lugaro said.

"Within one million years of the formation of the solar system the radioactive nuclei decayed inside the rocks where they were trapped, releasing high-energy photons, which caused the rocks to heat. Since much of earth's water is believed to have originated from these first rocks, the possibility of life on earth depends on their heating history and, in turn, on the presence of radioactive nuclei." Dr Lugaro said.

"What we need to do now is investigate the probability that a dying giant star could have actually been nearby our then young solar system and polluted it with radioactive nuclei. This will inform us on the place where the solar system was born, on the probability that other young planetary system also are polluted with radioactive nuclei, and, eventually, on the probability of having water on terrestrial planets in other planetary systems."

Monash University

Related Radioactive Nuclei Current Events and Radioactive Nuclei News Articles

Evidence for a new nuclear 'magic number'
Researchers have come one step closer to understanding unstable atomic nuclei. A team of researchers from RIKEN, the University of Tokyo and other institutions in Japan and Italy has provided evidence for a new nuclear magic number in the unstable, radioactive calcium isotope 54Ca.

Scientists demonstrate pear shaped atomic nuclei
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that some atomic nuclei can assume the shape of a pear which contributes to our understanding of nuclear structure and the underlying fundamental interactions.

Direct measurements allow detailed look at how quarks of different flavors contribute to spin
Scientists hoping to unravel the mystery of proton spin at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a 2.4-mile-circumference particle accelerator at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, have a new tool at their disposal - the first to directly explore how quarks of different types, or "flavors," contribute to the overall spin of the proton.

New 'doubly magic' research reveals role of nuclear shell
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the University of Tennessee (UT) and six collaborating universities have performed an unprecedented nuclear reaction experiment that explores the unique properties of the "doubly magic" radioactive isotope of 132Sn, or tin-132.

Theoretical nuclear physics in China
In recent years several Large-Scale Scientific Facilities (LSSF) for nuclear, hadronic, and particle physics have been upgraded and constructed in China.

Listening to dark matter
A team of researchers in Canada have made a bold stride in the struggle to detect dark matter. The PICASSO collaboration has documented the discovery of a significant difference between the acoustic signals induced by neutrons and alpha particles in a detector based on superheated liquids.

Star light, star bright: FSU facility duplicating conditions of supernovas
How is matter created? What happens when stars die? Is the universe shrinking, or is it expanding? For decades, scientists have been looking for answers to such "big picture" questions.

Little earth
Arts/science video installation to open in London (January) and Scotland (February).
More Radioactive Nuclei Current Events and Radioactive Nuclei News Articles

Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles

Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles
by Robert Eisberg (Author), Robert Resnick (Author)

A revision of a successful junior/senior level text, this introduction to elementary quantum mechanics clearly explains the properties of the most important quantum systems. Emphasizes the applications of theory, and contains new material on particle physics, electron-positron annihilation in solids and the Mossbauer effect. Includes new appendices on such topics as crystallography, Fourier Integral Description of a Wave Group, and Time-Independent Perturbation Theory.

Nuclear Reactions: An Introduction (Lecture Notes in Physics)

Nuclear Reactions: An Introduction (Lecture Notes in Physics)
by Hans Paetz gen. Schieck (Author)

Nuclei and nuclear reactions offer a unique setting for investigating three (and in some cases even all four) of the fundamental forces in nature. Nuclei have been shown – mainly by performing scattering experiments with electrons, muons and neutrinos – to be extended objects with complex internal structures: constituent quarks; gluons, whose exchange binds the quarks together; sea-quarks, the ubiquitous virtual quark-antiquark pairs and last but not least, clouds of virtual mesons, surrounding an inner nuclear region, their exchange being the source of the nucleon-nucleon interaction.The interplay between the (mostly attractive) hadronic nucleon-nucleon interaction and the repulsive Coulomb force is responsible for the existence of nuclei; their degree of stability, expressed in the...

Radioactive Transformations (The Silliman Memorial Lectures Series)

Radioactive Transformations (The Silliman Memorial Lectures Series)
by Ernest Rutherford (Author), Frank Wilczek (Author)

Radioactive Transformations describes Ernest Rutherford’s Nobel Prize-winning investigations into the mysteries of radioactive matter. In this historic work, Rutherford outlines the scientific investigations that led to and coincided with his own research—including the work of Wilhelm Rӧntgen, J. J. Thomson, and Marie Curie—and explains in detail the experiments that provided a glimpse at special relativity, quantum mechanics, and other concepts that would shape modern physics.This new edition features a comprehensive introduction by Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek which engagingly explains how Rutherford's early research led to a better understanding of topics as diverse as the workings of the atom’s nucleus, the age of our planet, and the fusion in stars.

Radioactive Fallout after Nuclear Explosions and Accidents (Radioactivity in the Environment)

Radioactive Fallout after Nuclear Explosions and Accidents (Radioactivity in the Environment)
by Y.A. Izrael (Author)

To achieve successful solutions to the problems resulting from local, distant and global radioactive fallout after nuclear explosions and accidents and to achieve successful retrospective analyses of the radiation conditions from recent observations, certain information is needed: the distribution of the exposure dose rate in the atmosphere and in a country; the distribution of radionuclides in natural environments and the nuclide composition of the radioactive fallout; the features of formation of the aerosol particle-carriers of the radioactivity and of the nuclide distribution of the particles of different sizes formed under different conditions; the processes involved in the migration of radioactive products in different zones and environments; the external and internal effects of...

A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time
by Stephen Hawking (Author)


A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?

Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of...

Radioactive Releases in the Environment: Impact and Assessment

Radioactive Releases in the Environment: Impact and Assessment
by John R. Cooper (Author), Keith Randle (Author), Ranjeet S. Sokhi (Author)

This text brings together in one single comprehensive reference, the fundamentals of radioactivity. It uniquely fills the gap in the market, as no other books deal with environmental radioactivity to this degree.
* Timely and invaluable as the studies of environmental processes and the awareness of the impact of human activity on our environment are increasing
* Links all three main aspects of environmental radioactivity: Principles, Transport and Measurement
* Useful to a wide readership - students, lecturers, researchers, companies and environmental consultants

Hyperfine Interactions of Radioactive Nuclei (Topics in Current Physics)

Hyperfine Interactions of Radioactive Nuclei (Topics in Current Physics)
by J. Christiansen (Editor)

With contributions by numerous experts

The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe

The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
by Theodore Gray (Author), Nick Mann (Photographer)

The Elements has become an international sensation, with over one million copies in-print worldwide. 

The highly-anticipated paperback edition of The Elements is finally available.

An eye-opening, original collection of gorgeous, never-before-seen photographic representations of the 118 elements in the periodic table. 

The elements are what we, and everything around us, are made of. But how many elements has anyone actually seen in pure, uncombined form? The Elements provides this rare opportunity. Based on seven years of research and photography, the pictures in this book make up the most complete, and visually arresting, representation available to the naked eye of every atom in the universe. Organized in order of appearance on the periodic table,...

Nucleus: A Trip into the Heart of Matter

Nucleus: A Trip into the Heart of Matter
by Ray Mackintosh (Author), Jim Al-Khalili (Author), Björn Jonson (Author), Teresa Peña (Author)

At the core of the atom, enshrouded by electrons, lies the nucleus. The discovery of the nucleus transformed the past century and will revolutionize this one. Though many persons associate nuclear physics with weapons of mass destruction, it is an exciting, cutting-edge science that has helped to save lives through innovative medical technologies, such as the MRI. In nuclear astrophysics, state-of-the-art theoretical and computer models help to explain the powerful stellar explosions known as supernovas, to account for how stars shine, and to describe how the chemical elements in the universe were formed.Nucleus: A Trip into the Heart of Matter by Ray Mackintosh, Jim Al-Khalili, Bjorn Jonsen, and Theresa Penae is a lavishly illustrated book filled with lively prose and captivating details...

The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition

The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition
by Richard Rhodes (Author)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS after its initial publication, The Making of the Atomic Bomb remains the seminal and complete story of how the bomb was developed, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan.

Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly—or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity, there was a span of hardly more than twenty-five years. What began as merely an interesting speculative problem in physics grew into the Manhattan Project, and then into the bomb, with frightening rapidity, while scientists known only to their...

© 2014