Solar System May Be Older Than Thought
By Mike Wall | Space.com
The solar system may be up to two million years older than previously thought, a new study has found.
Researchers studying bits of a meteorite discovered that the space rock was 4.5682 billion years old, predating previous estimates of the solar systemís age by up to 1.9 million years. This adjustment, though ever so slight, should help astronomers better understand how the sun and planets formed.
"We believe that, right now, this is the most precise and accurate date for the age of the solar system," said study co-author Meenakshi Wadhwa of Arizona State University.
Meteorite detective story
Wadhwa and colleague Audrey Bouvier, also of ASU, made the find while studying a meteorite called NWA 2364, which fell to Earth in Morocco in 2004. They examined a 1-centimeter chunk of the meteorite known as a calcium-aluminum-rich inclusion, or CAI.
Inclusions are minerals that get trapped inside meteorites as the space rocks are forming. Scientists believe CAIís were among the first solids to condense out when the sun and planets were forming, so CAI ages are good representations of the solar systemís age.
Wadhwa and Bouvier used lead-lead dating, a technique commonly used to date meteorites, to figure out the CAIís age. They measured the abundances of three lead isotopes - versions of the element with different atomic masses - in the CAI. Two of the lead versions form when uranium isotopes radioactively decay; the other one is not a decay product.
Comparing the amounts of the three lead isotopes, and relating those numbers to the known rates of uranium-isotope decay, gave the researchers their answer: 4.5682 billion years.
This number is only a hair older than previous estimates of the solar systemís age, which were chiefly gleaned from dating CAIís in other meteorites. But the difference is real, according to Wadhwa.
"Thatís the power of geochemistry," she told SPACE.com. "You can make very, very precise measurements."
Age of the solar system
And even such small adjustments to the solar systemís age can be very important to astronomers seeking to understand how the sun and planets formed.
As an example, Wadhwa and Bouvier cite the abundance of the isotope iron-60 in the proto-solar system. Iron-60 is radioactive, with a half-life of about 2.6 million years. Every 2.6 million years, half of the iron-60 in a given sample decays away.
So if you push the age of the solar system back by about two million years, that means there was almost twice as much iron-60 present during its birth than previously thought. And this increased concentration has consequences: it strongly supports the idea that a supernova exploded nearby during the solar systemís formation, injecting huge quantities of heat that helped nascent bodies differentiate.
"Iron-60 is kind of a smoking gun," Wadhwa said. "If present in certain abundances, it can only really be there because of a supernova injection."
Astronomers can do this sort of sleuthing with many different isotopes that have relatively short half-lives. So nailing down the solar systemís age precisely is key.
"It gives us a better understanding of the type of environment the solar system evolved in," Wadhwa said.
The researchers report their findings Aug. 22 in the online version of Nature Geoscience.
Article from: Space.com
Hypergeometry, Astrology and the Spaces Inbetween (Video)
Violent spacequakes shake Earth from above
Age Confirmed for íEve,í Mother of All Humans
New Find Pushes Age of Stone Tools Back A Million Years!
Revised theory of gravity doesnít predict a Big Bang
Big Bang experiment may reveal dark universe: CERN
Andrew Lange, physicist who explored remnants of Big Bang, dies at age 52
Latest News from our Front Page
The Pilgrims Were Definitely Not Like Modern-Day Refugees
This upcoming Thanksgiving Day is sure to offer you and your family plenty of opportunities to argue over whether America should be welcoming Syrian refugees.
If you have any liberal relatives or friends coming over for your Thursday feast, they‚Äôre going to relish the chance to tell everyone that the Pilgrims were refugees too ‚ÄĒ and hope that statement decimates all ...
ISIS to France: "We will be coming. Victory has been promised to us by Allah"
Homegrown French ISIS fighters have issued a chilling threat of new attacks on France just 24 hours after the terrorist group used movie footage of the Eiffel Tower's collapse in another video.
A balaclava-clad militant is seen warning 'we will be coming, we will come to crush your country' in footage posted on Twitter earlier today.
It is unclear where the film ...
ISIS teenage 'poster girl' Samra Kesinovic 'beaten to death' as she tried to flee the group
She appeared in social media images for the group carrying a Kalashnikov and surrounded by armed men
A teenage girl who ran away from her Vienna home to join Isis in Syria has reportedly been beaten to death by the group after trying to escape.
Samra Kesinovic, 17, travelled to Syria last year with her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15.
The two became a ...
The Right Stuff's flagship podcast "The Daily Shoah" has been censored by Soundcloud
Editor's note: The PC corporate moral police strike again. Just as Radio 3Fourteen & Red Ice Radio were censored from iTunes, The Daily Shoah was pulled from Soundcloud today. As per usual, there is a double standard, they allow any kind of anti-White material:
No counter culture humor making fun of the genocidal mainstream garbage is allowed!
Soundcloud took it upon ...
Merkel Welcomes A Million More: Vows To Stand By Refugee Policy Despite Security Fears
Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris.
Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up ...
|More News » |