Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Livermore Lab Physicist Dates Lifetime Of Solar Nebula At Two Million Years

Date:
May 5, 2005
Source:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Summary:
The oxygen and magnesium content of some of the oldest objects in the universe are giving clues to the lifetime of the solar nebula, the mass of dust and gas that eventually led to the formation of our solar system.

Researchers analyzed the calcium aluminum-rich inclusion (CAI), the larger circular object in the center of the photo, and the chondrule, the smaller circular object on the left, in a hand specimen of the Allende meteorite.
Credit: Image courtesy of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- The oxygen and magnesium content of some of the oldest objects in the universe are giving clues to the lifetime of the solar nebula, the mass of dust and gas that eventually led to the formation of our solar system.

Related Articles


By looking at the content of chondrules and calcium aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), both components of the primitive meteorite Allende, Lab physicist Ian Hutcheon, with colleagues from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Smithsonian Institution, found that the age difference between the two fragments points directly to the lifetime of the solar nebula.

CAIs were formed in an oxygen-rich environment and date to 4.567 billion years old, while chondrules were formed in an oxygen setting much like that on Earth and date to 4.565 billion, or less, years old.

"Over this span of about two million years, the oxygen in the solar nebula changed substantially in its isotopic makeup," Hutcheon said. "This is telling us that oxygen was evolving fairly rapidly."

The research appears in the April 21 edition of the journal Nature.

One of the signatures of CAIs is an enrichment of the isotope Oxygen 16 (O-16). An isotope is a variation of an element that is heavier or lighter than the standard form of the element because each atom has more or fewer neutrons in its nucleus. The CAIs in this study are enriched with an amount of O-16 4 percent more than that found on Earth. And, while 4 percent may not sound like much, this O-16 enrichment is an indelible signature of the oldest solar system objects, like CAIs. CAIs and chondrules are tens of millions of years older than more modern objects in the solar system, such as planets, which formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

"By the time chondrules formed, the O-16 content changed to resemble what we have on Earth today," Hutcheon said.

In the past, the estimated lifetime of the solar nebula ranged from less than a million years to ten million years. However, through analysis of the mineral composition and oxygen and magnesium isotope content of CAIs and chondrules, the team was able to refine that lifespan to roughly two million years.

"In the past the age difference between CAIs and chondrules was not well-defined," Hutcheon said. "Refining the lifetime of the solar nebula is quite significant in terms of understanding how our solar system formed."

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Livermore Lab Physicist Dates Lifetime Of Solar Nebula At Two Million Years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050504180243.htm>.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (2005, May 5). Livermore Lab Physicist Dates Lifetime Of Solar Nebula At Two Million Years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050504180243.htm
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Livermore Lab Physicist Dates Lifetime Of Solar Nebula At Two Million Years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050504180243.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) China launched an experimental spacecraft Friday to fly around the moon and back to Earth in preparation for the country's first unmanned return trip to the lunar surface. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) The mission is China's next step toward automated sample-return missions and eventual manned missions to the moon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 22, 2014) Russian cosmonauts Maxim Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev step outside the International Space Station to perform work on the exterior of the station's Russian module. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins