Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oldest objects in solar system indicate a turbulent beginning

Date:
March 3, 2011
Source:
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists have found that calcium, aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), some of the oldest objects in the solar system, formed far away from our sun and then later fell back into the mid-plane of the solar system. The findings may lead to a greater understanding of how our solar system and possibly other solar systems formed and evolved.

Compositional X-ray image of the rim and margin of a ~4.6 billion year old calcium aluminum refractory inclusion (CAI) from the Allende carbonaceous chondrite. Core extending well beyond the field of view to the upper left consists of melilite, spinel and perovskite. Rim consists of a sequence of mono-mineral layers a few micrometers thick (hibonite, perovskite, spinel, melilite/sodalite, pyroxene, and olivine). A spinel-rich micro-inclusion appears to have been entrapped while the rim was forming.
Credit: Justin Simon/NASA

Scientists have found that calcium, aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), some of the oldest objects in the solar system, formed far away from our sun and then later fell back into the mid-plane of the solar system. The findings may lead to a greater understanding of how our solar system and possibly other solar systems formed and evolved.

CAIs, roughly millimeter- to centimeter in size, are believed to have formed very early in the evolution of the solar system and had contact with nebular gas, either as solid condensates or as molten droplets. Relative to planetary materials, CAIs are enriched with the lightest oxygen isotope and are believed to record the oxygen composition of solar nebular gas where they grew. CAIs, at 4.57 billion years old, are millions of years older than more modern objects in the solar system, such as planets, which formed about 10-50 million years after CAIs.

Using Lawrence Livermore's NanoSIMS (nanometer-scale secondary-ion mass spectrometer) -- an instrument that can analyze samples with nanometer-scale spatial resolution -- LLNL scientists in conjunction with NASA Johnson Space Center, University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago measured the concentrations of oxygen isotopes found in the CAIs.

In the recent research, the team studied a specific CAI found in a piece of the Allende meteorite. Allende is the largest carbonaceous chondrite meteorite ever found on Earth. It fell to the ground in 1969 over the Mexican state of Chihuahua and is notable for possessing abundant CAIs.

Their findings imply that CAIs formed from several oxygen reservoirs, likely located in distinct regions of the solar nebula. CAIs travelled within the nebula by lofting outward away from the sun and then later falling back into the mid-plane of the solar system or by spiraling through shock waves around the sun.

Through oxygen isotopic analysis, the team found that rims surrounding the CAI show that late in the CAI's evolution, it was in a nebular environment distinct from where it originated and closer in composition to the environment in which the building materials of the terrestrial planets formed.

"Allende is this very unusual meteorite with all these wonderful inclusions (CAIs)," said Ian Hutcheon, one of the LLNL scientists on the team. "The isotopic measurements indicate that this CAI was transported among several different nebular oxygen isotopic reservoirs, arguably as it passed through into various regions of the protoplanetary disk."

A protoplanetary disk is an area of dense gas surrounding a newly formed star. In this case, the CAI formed when our star was quite young.

"It is particularly interesting in understanding the formation and dynamics of our solar system's protoplanetary disk (and protoplanetary disks in general)," said Justin Simon of NASA Johnson Space Center and lead author of a paper appearing in the March 4 issue of the journal Science.

The new observations, "support early and short-lived fluctuations of the environment in which CAIs formed, either due to transport of the CAIs themselves to distinct regions of the solar nebula or because of varying gas composition near the proto-sun," Hutcheon said.

Other Livermore researchers include Jennifer Matzel, Erick Ramon and Peter Weber.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Justin I. Simon, Ian D. Hutcheon, Steven B. Simon, Jennifer E. P. Matzel, Erick C. Ramon, Peter K. Weber, Lawrence Grossman, and Donald J. Depaolo. Oxygen Isotope Variations at the Margin of a CAI Records Circulation Within the Solar Nebula. Science, 2011; 331 (6021): 1175-1178 DOI: 10.1126/science.1197970

Cite This Page:

DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Oldest objects in solar system indicate a turbulent beginning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303141544.htm>.
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (2011, March 3). Oldest objects in solar system indicate a turbulent beginning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303141544.htm
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Oldest objects in solar system indicate a turbulent beginning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303141544.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX on Tuesday to build America's next spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017, opening the way to a new chapter in human spaceflight. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. It has announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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