Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

'Faster-ticking clock' indicates early solar system may have evolved faster than we think

May 02, 2012
Our solar system is four and a half billion years old, but its formation may have occurred over a shorter period of time than we previously thought, says an international team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and universities and laboratories in the US and Japan.

Establishing chronologies of past events or determining ages of objects require having clocks that tick at different paces, according to how far back one looks. Nuclear clocks, used for dating, are based on the rate of decay of an atomic nucleus expressed by a half-life, the time it takes for half of a number of nuclei to decay, a property of each nuclear species.

Radiocarbon dating for example, invented in Chicago in the late 1940s and refined ever since, can date artifacts back to prehistoric times because the half-life of radiocarbon (carbon-14) is a few thousand years. The evaluation of ages of the history of earth or of the solar system requires extremely "slow-paced" chronometers consisting of nuclear clocks with much longer half-lives.

The activity of one of these clocks, known as nucleus samarium-146 (146Sm), was examined by Michael Paul, the Kalman and Malke Cooper Professor of Nuclear Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as researchers from the University of Notre Dame and the Argonne National Laboratory in the US and from two Japanese universities.

146Sm belongs to a family of nuclear species which were "live" in our sun and its solar system when they were born. Events thereafter, and within a few hundred million years, are dated by the amount of 146Sm that was left in various mineral archives until its eventual "extinction."

146Sm has become the main tool for establishing the time evolution of the solar system over its first few hundred million years. This by itself owes to a delicate geochemical property of the element samarium, a rare element in nature. It is a sensitive probe for the separation, or differentiation, of the silicate portion of earth and of other planetary bodies.

The main result of the work of the international scientists, detailed in a recent article in the journal Science, is a new determination of the half-life of 146Sm, previously adopted as 103 million years, to a much shorter value of 68 million years. The shorter half-life value, like a clock ticking faster, has the effect of shrinking the assessed chronology of events in the early solar system and in planetary differentiation into a shorter time span.

The new time scale, interestingly, is now consistent with a recent and precise dating made on a lunar rock and is in better agreement with the dating obtained with other chronometers.

The measurement of the half-life of 146Sm, performed over several years by the collaborators, involved the use of the ATLAS particle accelerator at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Related Solar System Current Events and Solar System News Articles


Cassiopeia's hidden gem: The closest rocky, transiting planet
Skygazers at northern latitudes are familiar with the W-shaped star pattern of Cassiopeia the Queen. This circumpolar constellation is visible year-round near the North Star. Tucked next to one leg of the W lies a modest 5th-magnitude star named HD 219134 that has been hiding a secret.

Astronomers discover powerful aurora beyond solar system
Astronomers have discovered the first aurora ever seen in an object beyond our Solar System. The aurora -- similar to the famous "Northern Lights" on Earth -- is 10,000 times more powerful than any previously seen.

Failed stars host powerful aurora displays
Brown dwarf stars host powerful aurora displays just like planets, astronomers have discovered.

York scientists unlock secrets of stars through aluminium
Physicists at the University of York have revealed a new understanding of nucleosynthesis in stars, providing insight into the role massive stars play in the evolution of the Milky Way and the origins of the Solar System.

Lobster-Eye imager detects soft X-ray emissions
Solar winds are known for powering dangerous space weather events near Earth, which, in turn, endangers space assets.

Dust pillars of destruction reveal impact of cosmic wind on galaxy evolution
Astronomers have long known that powerful cosmic winds can sometimes blow through galaxies, sweeping out interstellar material and stopping future star formation. Now they have a clearer snapshot of how it happens.

The planetary sweet spot
Planet Earth is situated in what astronomers call the Goldilocks Zone -- a sweet spot in a solar system where a planet's surface temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.

Observing the birth of a planet
Observing time at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) on Paranal Mountain is a very precious commodity - and yet the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile spent an entire night with a high-resolution infrared camera pointed at a single object in the night sky.

New NASA supercomputer model shows planet making waves in nearby debris disk
A new NASA supercomputer simulation of the planet and debris disk around the nearby star Beta Pictoris reveals that the planet's motion drives spiral waves throughout the disk, a phenomenon that causes collisions among the orbiting debris.

Hubble sees atmosphere being stripped from Neptune-sized exoplanet
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen dispersing from a warm, Neptune-sized planet orbiting a nearby star. The enormous gaseous tail of the planet is about 50 times the size of the parent star.
More Solar System Current Events and Solar System News Articles

National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)

National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
by Catherine D. Hughes (Author), David A. Aguilar (Illustrator)


This beautiful book is the latest addition to the National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book series. These colorful pages will introduce young children to the wonders of space, with colorful illustrations by David Aguilar and simple text that is perfect for beginning readers or for reading aloud. The book will explain basic concepts of space, beginning with what is most familiar to kids and expanding out into universe.

Chapters include:
 • Chapter 1 focuses on the Earth, moon, and sun.
 • Chapter 2 introduces kids to the other planets in our solar system.
 • Chapter 3 explains other objects in our solar system, such as dwarf planets, comets, and asteroid belts.
 • Chapter 4 voyages even farther afield, touching on concepts such as the universe, the...

Solar System: A Visual Exploration of All the Planets, Moons and Other Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun

Solar System: A Visual Exploration of All the Planets, Moons and Other Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun
by Marcus Chown (Author)


Based on the latest ebook sensation developed by Theodore Gray and his company Touch Press, this beautiful print book presents a new and fascinating way to experience the wonders of the solar system

Following the stunning success of both the print edition and the app of The Elements, Black Dog & Leventhal and Touch Press have teamed up again. Solar System is something completely new under the sun. Never before have the wonders of our solar system?all its planets, dwarf planets, the sun, moons, rocky Asteroid Belt, and icy Kuiper Belt?been so immediately accessible to readers of all ages.

Beginning with a fascinating overview and then organized by planet, in order of its distance from the sun, Solar System takes us on a trip across time and space that includes a front-row...

There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)

There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
by Tish Rabe (Author), Aristides Ruiz (Illustrator)


Au revoir, Pluto! In this newly revised, bestselling backlist title, beginning readers and budding astronomers are launched on a wild trip to visit the now eight planets in our solar system (per the International Astronomical Union’s 2006 decision to downgrade Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet), along with the Cat in the Hat, Thing One, Thing Two, Dick, and Sally. It’s a reading adventure that’s out of this world!

National Geographic Readers: Planets

National Geographic Readers: Planets
by Elizabeth Carney (Author)


This brilliantly illustrated book taps into children's natural curiosity about the vast world of space. This level two reader, written in simple language that is easy for young readers to understand, introduces children to our solar system, including all of the planets and dwarf planets, and lots of fascinating fun facts. This reader helps cultivate the explorers of tomorrow!

This high-interest, educationally vetted series of beginning readers features the magnificent images of National Geographic, accompanied by texts written by experienced, skilled children's book authors. The inside back cover of the paperback edition is an interactive feature based upon the book. Level 1 books reinforce the content of the book with a kinesthetic learning activity. In Level 2 books readers...

The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System

The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System
by Joanna Cole (Author), Bruce Degen (Author)


To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Scholastic is re-releasing the ten original Magic School Bus titles in paperback. With updated scientific information, the bestselling science series ever is back!

The fieldtrip to the planetarium is foiled when the museum turns out to be closed, but Ms. Frizzle saves the day. The Magic School Bus turns into a spaceship and takes the class on a trip zooming through the atmosphere, to the Moon, and beyond! With up-to-date facts about the solar system, revised for this edition.

The Planets

The Planets
by Robert Dinwiddie (Author), Heather Couper (Author), John Farndon (Author), Nigel Henbest (Author), David Hughes (Author), Giles Sparrow (Author), Carole Stott (Author), Colin Stuart (Author)


Featuring all-new 3D models built using data gathered by NASA and the European Space Agency, The Planets is an awe-inspiring journey through the Solar System, from Earth to Mars and beyond. Viewed layer by layer, planets and other objects in the Solar System are taken out of the night sky and presented on a white background, revealing every detail of their surface and internal anatomy in astonishing detail. Looking at planets, the Sun, hundreds of moons and thousands of asteroids and comets, The Planets includes timelines that chronicle all major Space missions, right up to the latest Mars rovers, and infographics that present fascinating facts about all planets and the Solar System in a fresh new way.

Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond (National Geographic Kids)

Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond (National Geographic Kids)
by David A. Aguilar (Author), David A. Aguilar (Illustrator)


Presenting the latest exciting findings on space exploration and research and cutting-edge, spectacular views of the universe that technology is bringing back to Earth, all in one ultimate reference book. Authored by David A. Aguilar of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the National Geographic Space Encyclopedia is ideal for the family bookshelf, providing both accessible information for school reports and compelling reading on the mysteries beyond our world.

13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Kids)

13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Kids)
by David A. Aguilar (Author)


First, Pluto left. Then it came back, along with Ceres and Eris...and now Haumea and MakeMake, too! The recent actions of the International Astronomical Union have put every solar system book out of date. In response, National Geographic joins forces with David Aguilar of the Harvard Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory to revise our 2008 book—and to update young readers on the high-interest topic of space. Using simple text and spectacular photorealistic computer art by the author, this book profiles all 13 planets in their newly created categories—plus the sun, the Oort Cloud, comets, and other worlds being discovered. Back-of-the-book activities offer hands-on fun for budding astronomers.

101 Facts... Solar System. Space Books for Kids. Amazing Facts, Photos & Video. (101 Space Facts for Kids Book 4)

101 Facts... Solar System. Space Books for Kids. Amazing Facts, Photos & Video. (101 Space Facts for Kids Book 4)
by IP Factly


IP Factly presents... "101 Facts… Solar System!"
Solar System Kids Book - Amazing facts, stunning photos plus videos telling the story of the solar system for kids.

Space books for kids - a fun and fascinating way for young readers to discover more about the planets, dwarf planets and other fascinating objects in the Solar System.
This planet book for kids mixes facts, stunning photos and even Videos to encourage and bolster independent reading.

Accompanying webpage with video clips
This book provides fact after fact for information hungry children to tell family and friends, and even has an accompanying webpage with video clips giving a visual insight into the Solar System.
The video links mean children come back again and...

The Solar System

The Solar System
by Michael A. Seeds (Author), Dana Backman (Author)


With this newly revised Eigth Edition of THE SOLAR SYSTEM, the authors' goals are to help you use astronomy to understand science--and use science to understand what we are. Fascinating, engaging, and visually vibrant, this text will help you answer two fundamental questions: What are we? And how do we know?

© 2015 BrightSurf.com